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Sermons. Page- 

XXXIII. The Nature and Design of the Eucharist 7 

XXXIV. Salvation by Faith 120 
XXXV. The Christian Prophet and his Work 167 

XXXVI. iue Kights of God and Caesar 193 

XXXVII. The Origin and End of Civil Government 220 

XXXVIII. Apostolic Preaching 258 

XXXIX. The Operations of Providence and Grace 
calculated to inspire Confidence and Grati- 
tude 293 
XL. St. Peter's Character of the Dispersed among 
the Gentiles, and his Prayer for a Multipli- 
cation of Grace and Peace in the Church of 
God . . 332 
XLI. St. Paul's Metaphysics ; or the Invisible 
Things of God made known by the Visible 
Works of Creation . . .367 
XLII. True Happiness, and the Way to attain it 415 
XLIII. The High Commission . . 441 




Luke xxii. 19. 
' This do in remembrance of me." 


L\ the following discourse I have aimed, not at new 
discoveries in theology, but to do justice to a subject 
misconceived by most, and neglected by many. A sub- 
ject of the utmost consequence to divine revelation, and 
to the edification of the church of God. I shall not say, 

* When this sermon was first published separately, it was 

intitled " A Discourse on the Nature, Institution, and Design of 

he Holy Eucharist, commonly called the Sacrament of the Lord's 

iupper. By Adam Clarke, LL.D." The following were the 

mottos on the title-page : — 

Sr/jKrf, a£t\(poi, iSpaioi sv tt) ■kwtu Itjaov Xpiurov, (v Tradtt 
avT;> kcii avacraan — iva aprov kXwvtiq, 6 etrri fapfiaxov 



in order to vindicate its publication, that it was done in 
consequence of the ardent, oft-repeated importunity of 
many respectable friends. Whatever may be owing to 
private friendship, is undoubtedly a high and imperious 

aBavaciac.. avriSoTog rov fir) airoOavtiv, aWa Zt)v tv Geui Cia 
Iijoov XpiaTov, KaOaprtipiov aSt^iKaKov. 

Ignat. Epist. ad Ephes. Cap. xx. 

" Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you." 

John xv. 14. 

To the second edition, published in 1814, the following adver- 
tisement preceded the preface : — 

" Upwards of six years have elapsed since I first committed this 
work to the press, at which time I printed a pretty large edition, 
more in deference to the opinion of my friends, than from any convic- 
tion I had of its becoming at all popular ; as I had too much reason 
to fear that professors of Christianity ceased to view the subject in 
that light in which my work represents it, and in which alone I 
think it can be profitable. I am thankful that I have been at least 
partly mistaken. As soon as the work was known, it was generally 
inquired for, and has been out of print for a considerable time — not 
having leisure to revise it for a second edition. I have now care- 
fully re-examined the whole, corrected what I have found amiss, 
and have made several considerable additions ; so that I hope I 
may say, it is now much more worthy of the public attention than 
it was before. That God has condescended to make it the means 
of doing much good, I learn with gratitude from several quarters. 
Many both of the clergy and laity have been forward to express 
their approbation, and to encourage me to recommit it to the press- 
I have taken the first opportunity to do so, and hope that the Great 
Head of his church will continue to give it his blessing. 

" I. hope I may say, that since the publication of this little work, 
the number of faithful communicants has been increased, and 
several improprieties in this solemn service have been discontinued. 
If possible, it would be well were all to think and speak the san.e 
on this subject. I have endeavoured to show it in what I believe 
to be its scriptural point of view, viz., as the continual memorial of 
a sacrificial offering ; they who take it in this way discern the 


duty to discharge ; but no man can be excused in ob- 
truding on the public anything unworthy its notice, by 
such motives as these. The holy Eucharist I consider a 
rite designed by God to keep up a continual remem- 
brance of the doctrine of the atonement. In this point 
of view, I thought it was not commonly considered by 
the generality of Christians ; and as I saw various opinions 
subversive of its nature and design prevailing among 
professors, I said, " I will also show my opinion ;" in 
doing which, though I have brought my knowledge from 
afar, I have endeavoured to ascribe righteousness to my 

In looking over my work, I feel but little pleasure at 
the appearance of so many quotations in strange cha- 
racters. I can say, in my vindication, I did not seek 

Lord's body, and find the holy communion, spirit and life to their 
souls. To what extent God might Mess this ordinance, were it 
duly administered and faithfully received, who can tell 1 

" O that the ministers of the sanctuary among all denominations 
of Christians, would earnestly press this high duty and privilege 
more frequently and fervently upon the souls of the people ! We 
should then see a sounder and more established state of Chris- 
tianitv. Let the reader remember the words of his Lord, " Ye are 
my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you." Does he not 
command this ! Does he not say, " Do this in remembrance of me V 
And can any Christian soul be guiltless that disobeys this divine 
command? I do not speak of those religious prejudices against the 
rite itself. I am not to judge another man's servnnts ; but 1 speak 
of those incurring guilt, who believe they should eat bread and 
drink wine in remembrance of Christ's passion and death, and 
either seldom or never do it. If some who received it unworthily 
brought judgment upon themselves in consequence, what must we 
think of those who wholly neglect it ">. For this cause also, doubt- 
less, "many are weak and sickly among us, and many sleep." 
Let him that readeth understand. — London, Sept. 1, 1814." 

A 3 


these ; they presented themselves on the respective sub- 
jects with which they are connected; and I accepted 
their assistance, judging that with many their testimony 
would go farther than my own. The plain unlettered 
reader will have no reason to complain of these, as the 
sense of each is carefully given ; and the man of learn- 
ing will not be displeased to have the originals presented 
here to his view, as he might not have the works from 
which they are taken always at hand. These things ex- 
cepted, I have endeavoured to be as plain and as clear 
as possible. I have affected no elegance of style : this 
my subject did not require ; plain common sense was all 
I aimed at.* I began it in the name of God, and I sin- 
cerely dedicate it to his glory. May his blessing accom- 
pany the reading it ! And may the important doctrine 
of the atonement made by the death of Christ, which it 
is chiefly intended to illustrate and defend, have free 
course, run, and be glorified ; and might deeds be done 
in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord ! 

* Though the following discourse was headed, " Sermon 
XXXIII.," vol. iii., 8vo., of Dr. Clarke's Sermons, yet in the 
original preface, this sentence occurred here: "I have not even 
given the work the form of a sermon ; and by the rules of such 
compositions, I hope no man will attempt to judge of it." This 
remark might have remained, as the substance and plan of the dis- 
course remained unaltered. — Editor. 



Containing an examination of the question, " Did our 
Lord eat the passover with his disciples on the last year 
of his public ministry ?" 

As I shall have occasion frequently to refer to this 
subject in the ensuing discourse — a subject on which the 
Christian world has been divided for at least 1500 years — 
the reader will naturally expect to find some notice taken 
of the controversy concerning it ; and although a decision 
on the case cannot be expected, yet a fair statement of 
the principal opinions which at different times have been 
held and defended by learned men, should undoubtedly 
be given. 

With no show of propriety could such a controversy 
be introduced into the body of a discourse on the Nature 
and Design of the Lord's Supper; and yet the view I 
have taken of this ordinance is so intimately connected 
with the passover in general, that to pass by the contro- 
versy in silence, would by many be deemed inexcusable. 
I shall therefore briefly state the principal opinions on 
this question, the reasonings by which they are supported, 
and take the liberty to notice that one especially, which 
I judge to come nearest to the truth. The chief opinions 
are the four following :— 

I. Christ did not eat the passover in the last year of 
his ministry. 

II. He did eat it that year, and at the same time with 
the Jews. 

III. He did eat it that year, but not at the same time 
with the Jews. 

IV He did eat a passover of his own instituting, but 
widely different from that eaten by the Jews. 



I. The first opinion, that our Lord did not eat the pass- 
over, is thus maintained hy Dr. Wall, in his critical 
notes on Matt. xxvi. 17« 

" Here occurs a question, and a difference between the 
•words of St. John and the other three evangelists, con- 
cerning the day of the week on which the Jews kept 
the passover that year, 4037, A. D. 33. It is plain by 
all the four gospels, that the day on which Christ did, at 
night, eat the passover (or what some call the passover), 
was Thursday. And one would think, by reading the 
three, that that was the night on which the Jews did 
eat their passover lamb ; but all the texts of St. John 
are clear that they did not eat it till the next night, 
Friday night, before which night Christ was crucified 
and dead, having given up the ghost about the ninth 
hour, viz., three of the clock in the afternoon. St, John 
does speak of a supper which Christ did eat on the 
Thursday night with his apostles, chap. xiii. 12 ; but he 
does not call it a passover supper, but, on the contrary, 
says it was before the feast of the passover, npo ttjq, toprtje 
tov traaffa, by which I think he means the " day before 
the passover," or the " passover eve," as we should say. 
Now this was the same night and same supper which the 
three do call the passover, and Christ's eating the pass- 
over ; I mean, it was the night on which Christ was, a 
few hours after supper, apprehended ; as is plain by the 
last verse of that thirteenth chapter. But the next day, 
Friday, on which Christ was crucified, St. John makes 
to be the passover day. He says, chap, xviii. 28, the 
Jews would not go into the judgment-hall on Friday 
morning, lest they should be defiled, but that they might 
eat the passover, viz., that evening. And chap. xix. 14, 
speaking of Friday noon, he says it was " the prepara- 
tion of the passover." Upon the whole, John speaks not 
of eating the passover at all ; nor indeed do the three 


speak of his eating any lamb. Among all the expres- 
sions which they use, of " making ready the passover ; 
prepare for me to eat the passover ; with desire have I 
desired to eat this passover with you," &c., there is no 
mention of any lamb carried to the temple to be slain by 
the Levites, and then brought to the house and roasted ; 
there is no mention of any food at the supper besides 
bread and wine ; perhaps there might be some bitter 
herbs. So that this seems to have been a commemora- 
tive supper, used by our Saviour, instead of the proper 
paschal supper — the eating of a lamb — which should 
have been the next night, but that he himself was to be 
sacrificed before that time would come. And the dif- 
ference between St. John and the others is only a differ- 
ence in words, and in the names of things. They call 
that the passover, which Christ used instead of it. If 
you say, why then does Mark (xiv. 12) call Thursday 
the " first day of unleavened bread, when the passover 
must be killed," we must note, their day (or wx9i)jxipov) 
was from evening to evening. This Thursday evening 
was the beginning of that natural day of twenty-four 
hours, towards the end of which the lamb was to be 
killed ; so it is proper, in the Jews' way of calling days, 
to call it that day." 

II. He did eat the passover that year, and at the same 
time with the Jews. 

The late Dr. Newcome, archbishop of Armagh, is of a 
very different opinion from Dr. Wall ; and from a careful 
collation of the passages in the evangelists, concludes, 
" That our Lord did not anticipate this feast, but par- 
took of it with the Jews, on the usual and national 

" It appears," says he, " from the gospel history (sec 
Mark xv. 42, xvi. 9), that our Lord was crucified on 


Friday. But the night before his crucifixion, on which 
he was betrayed (1 Cor. xi. 23), he kept the passover, and 
that he kept it at the legal time is thus determined. In 
Matt. xxvi. 2, and in Mark xiv. 1, it is said that the 
passover, K ai ra a&fia, were after two days, or on the day 
following that on which Jesus foretold his sufferings and 
resurrection to his disciples, Matt. xvi. 21, &c. Mark 
viii. 31, &c, and Luke ix. 22, &c. 

"The evangelists, proceeding regularly in their history, 
Matt. xxvi. 17, and in the parallel places, Mark xiv. 12, 
&c, Luke xxii. 7» &c, mention is made of this day, 
and it is called the first day of unleavened bread, when 
they killed the passover," i. e., by general custom ; and 
St. Luke says that the day came, which (ver. 1) was 
approaching, when the passover must be killed; i. e., 
by the law of Moses. The 14th of Nisan is therefore 
meant, which is called irpmrti a^vfimv, the first of un- 
leavened bread. 

" During the week, therefore, of our Lord's passion, 
the law of Moses required that the passover should be 
slain on Thursday afternoon ; but our Lord partook of 
it on the night immediately succeeding, Matt. xxvi. 19, 
20 ; and the parallel places, Luke xxii. 14, 15 ; and 
therefore he partook of it at the legal time. 

" Mark xiv. 12, Luke xxii. 7? equally prove that the 
Jews kept the passover at the same time with Jesus." 

To the objection, John xviii. 28, that the Jews avoided 
defilement that they might eat the passover, the prelate 
answers, " that they meant the paschal sacrifices offered 
for seven days ; and they spoke particularly in reference 
to the 15th of Nisan, which was a day of holy convo- 

To the objection taken from John xix. 14 that the 
day on which our Lord was crucified is called ■n- ap a<TKtvri 
rov iraaxa, the preparation of the passover, he replies, 


" that in Mark xv. 42, napaaictvri, " preparation," is the 
same as trpoaa^^arov, " the day before the Sabbath," and 
so in Luke xxiii. 54 ; therefore by irapauKtv^ rov naaxa, 
we may understand the preparation before that Sabbath 
which happened during the paschal festival." 

This is the substance of what Archbishop Newcome 
says, both in his Harmony and Notes. See the latter, 
pp. 42—45. 

To this it is answered, that the opinion, which states 
that our Lord ate the passover the same day and hour 
with the Jews, seems scarcely supportable. If he ate it 
the same hour the Jews ate theirs, he ceitainly could not 
have died that day, as they ate the passover on Friday, 
about six o'clock in the evening ; if he did not, he must 
have been crucified on Saturday, the Jewish Sabbath, and 
could not have risen again on the first day of the week, 
as all the evangelists testify, but on the second, or Mon- 
day, which I suppose few will attempt to support. On 
this and other considerations, I think this point should 
be given up. But others argue thus — 

That Christ intended to eat a passover with his dis- 
ciples on this occasion, and that he intensely desired it 
too, we have the fullest proof from the three first evan- 
gelists. See Matt. xxvi. 1, 2, 3, 17—20 ; Mark xiv. 1, 
12 — 16 ; Luke xxii. 1, 7 — 13. And that he actually 
did eat one with them, must appear most evidently to 
those who shall carefully collate the preceding Scriptures, 
and especially what St. Luke says, chap. xxii. 7 — 18 ; 
for when Peter and John had received the Lord's com- 
mand to go and prepare the passover, it is said, ver. 13, 
" they went and found as he had said unto them, and they 
made ready the passover ;" i. e., got a lamb, and pre- 
pared it for the purpose, according to the law. Ver. 14, 
"And when the hour was come (to eat it), he sat 
down, avnreoe, and the twelve apostles with him." Ver. 


15, " And he said unto them, With desire have I desired 
to eat this passover with you before I suffer ;" where it 
is to be noted, that they had now " sat down to eat that 
passover," which before had been prepared, and that 
every word which is spoken is peculiarly proper to the 
occasion. "With desire," says our Lord, "have I de- 
sired, TOVTO TO vaoxa ifxr/UV, TO EAT THIS VERY PASSOVER ;" 

not Ksdiuv to Traaxa, to " eat a passover," or something 
commemorative of it, but tovto to ■Kaaxa, this very pass- 
over : and it is no mean proof that they were then in 
the act of eating the flesh of the paschal lamb, from 
the use of the verb $ayuv, which is most proper to 
the eating of flesh ; as eoQtuv signifies eating in general, 
or eating bread, pulse, &c. 

The same word, in reference to the same act of eating 
the passover, not to the bread and wine of the holy sup- 
per, is used, ver. 16 : " For I say unto you, I will not 
any more eat thereof," ov fiy <payu j£ uvtov, " I will not 
eat of him or it," viz., the paschal lamb, until it be ful- 
filled in the kingdom of God ; i. e., this shall be the last 
passover I shall celebrate on earth, as I am now about to 
suffer, and the kingdom of God — the plenitude of the 
gospel dispensation — shall immediately take place. And 
then, according to this evangelist, having finished the 
eating of the paschal lamb, he instituted the bread of 
the Holy Supper, ver. 19, and afterwards the crjp, ver. 
20, though he and they had partaken of the cup of bless- 
ing usual on such occasions, with the paschal lamb, 
immediately before. See ver. 17. Whosoever carefully 
considers the whole of this account, must be convinced 
that, whatever may come of the question concerning 
the time of eating the passover, our Lord did actually 
eat. one with his disciples before he suffered. What 
this passover most probably was, we shall see under the 
fourth opinion. 


III. He did eat the Passover that year, but not at the 
same time with the Jews. 

Dr. Cudworth, who of all others has handled this 
subject best, has proved from the Talmud, Mishna, and 
some of the most reputable of the Jewish Rabbins, that 
the ancient Jews, about our Saviour's time, often solem- 
nized as well the Passovers as the other feasts upon the 
ferias next before and after the Sabbaths. And that as 
the Jews in ancient times reckoned the new moons, not 
according to astronomical exactness, but according to the 
ipaaiq, or moon's appearance, and as this appearance might 
happen a day later than the real time, consequently 
there might be a whole day of difference in the time of 
celebrating one of these feasts, which depended on a par- 
ticular day of the month ; the days of the month being 
counted from the <paeig, or appearance of the new moon. 
As he describes the whole manner of doing this, both 
from the Babylonish Talmud, and from Maimonides, I 
shall give an extract from this part of his work, that my 
readers may have the whole argument before them. 

" In the greater or outer court, there was a house 
called Beth Yazek, where the senate sat all the thirtieth 
day of every month, to receive the witnesses of the 
moon's appearance, and to examine them. If there came 
approved witnesses on the thirtieth day, who could state 
that they had seen the new moon, the chief man of the 
senate stood up and cried, unpo mekuddask, ' It is sanc- 
tified;' and the people standing by, caught the word 
from him, and cried, mekuddask, mekuddask. ' But if, 
when the consistory had sat all the day, and there came 
no approved witnesses of the phasis, or appearance of 
the new moon, then they made an intercalation of one- 
day in the former month, and decreed the following one- 
and-thirtieth day to be the calends. But if, after the 
fourth or fifth day, or even before the end of the month, 


respectable. witnesses came from far, and testified they 
had seen the new moon, in its due time, the senate were 
bound to alter the beginning of the month, and reckon 
it a day sooner, viz., from the thirtieth day. 

" As the senate were very unwilling to be at the trouble 
of a second consecration, when they had even fixed on 
a wrong day, and therefore received very reluctantly the 
testimony of such witnesses as those last mentioned, 
they afterwards made a statute to this effect, 'That 
whatsoever time the senate should conclude on for the 
calends of the month, though it were certain they were 
in the wrong, yet all were bound to order their feasts 
according to it.' " This, Dr. Cudworth supposes, actually 
took place in the time of our Lord, and " as it is not 
likely that our Lord would submit to this perversion of 
•the original custom, and that, following the true ipaaig, or 
appearance of the new moon, confirmed by sufficient 
witnesses, he and his disciples ate the passover on that 
day ; but the Jews, following the pertinacious decree of 
the Sanhedrin, did not eat it till the day following." Dr. 
C. further shows from Epiphanius, that there was a con- 
tention, 9opvj3oQ, a tumult, among the Jews, about the 
passover, that very year. Hence it is likely, that what 
•was the real paschal day to our Lord, his disciples, and 
many other pious Jews, who adopted the true <paot£, 
was only the preparation or antecedent evening, to 
others, who acted on the decree of the senate. Besides, 
it is worthy of note, that not only the Karaites, who do 
not acknowledge the authority of the Sanhedrin, but 
also the rabbins themselves, grant, that where the case is 
doubtful the passover should be celebrated with the same 
ceremonies two days together ; and it was always doubt- 
ful when the appearance of the new moon could not be 
"ully ascertained. 

Bishop Pearce supposes, that it was lawful for the 


•Jews to eat the paschal lamb at any time between the 
evening of Thursday and that of Friday, and that this 
permission was necessary because of the immense number 
of lambs which were to be killed for that purpose ; as 
in one year there were not fewer than 256,500 lambs 
offered. See Josephus, War, b. vii., c. 9, sect. 3. In 
Matt. xxvi. 17, it is said, " Now the first day of the 
feast of unleavened bread (ry St Trfiory twv a^v/uov) the 
disciples came to Jesus, saying unto him, Where wilt 
thou that we prepare for thee to eat the passover ?" As 
the feast of unleavened bread did not begin till the day 
after the passover, the fifteenth day of the month (Lev. 
xxiii. 5, 6; Numb, xxviii. 16, 17), this could not have 
been properly the first day of that feast ; but as the Jews 
began to eat unleavened bread on the fourteenth day 
(Exod. xii. 18), this day was often termed the first of 
unleavened bread. Now, it appears, that the evan- 
gelists use it in this sense, and call even the paschal day 
by this name ; see Mark xiv. 12 ; Luke xxii. 7- 

At first view, this third opinion, which states that 
Christ did eat the passover with his disciples that year, 
but not in the same hour with the Jews, and that he 
expired on the cross the same hour in which the paschal 
lamb was killed, seems the most probable. For, it fol- 
lows, from what has already been remarked, that our 
Lord and his disciples ate the passover some hours 
before the Jews ate theirs ; for they, according to custom, 
ate theirs at the end of the fourteenth day, but Christ 
appears to have eaten his the preceding evening, which 
was the beginning of the same sixth day of the week, 
or Friday, for the Jews began their day at sun-setting , 
we, at midnight. Thus Christ ate the passover the same 
day with the Jews, but not on the same hour. Christ, 
therefore, kept this passover the beginning of the four- 
teenth day, the precise day in which the Jews had eaten 

VOL. III. b 


their first passover in Egypt ; see Exod. xii. 6 — 12. 
And in the same part of the same day in which they 
had sacrificed their first paschal lamb, viz., between the 
two evenings, i. e., between the sun's declining west and 
his setting about the third hour, Jesus our passover was 
sacrificed for us. For it was about the third hour (Mark 
xv. 25), when Christ was nailed to the cross, and about 
the ninth hour (Matt, xxvii. 46; Mark xv. 34). Jesus 
knowing that the antitype had accomplished everything 
shadowed forth by the type, or Paschal Lamb, he said, 
It is finished, TtreXtarcu, completed, perfected ; and having 
thus said, he bowed his head, and dismissed his spirit, 
TrapiSbiKi to Trvivfia. John xix. 30. 

Probably there is but one objection of any force that 
lies against the opinion, that our Lord ate his passover 
some hours before the Jews in general ate theirs, which 
is, that, if our Lord did eat the passover the evening 
before the Jews in general ate theirs, it could not have 
been sacrificed according to the law; nor is it at all 
likely that the blood was sprinkled at the foot of the 
altar. If, therefore, the blood were not thus sprinkled 
by one of the priests, that which constituted the very 
essence of the rite, as ordained by God, was lacking in 
that celebrated by our Lord. 

To this it may be answered : First, "We have already 
seen, that in consequence of the immense number of 
sacrifices to be offered on the paschal solemnity, it was 
highly probable the Jews w^ere obliged to employ two 
days for this work. It is not at all likely that the blood 
of 256,500 lambs could be shed and sprinkled at one 
altar, in the course of one day, by all the priests in Jeru- 
salem, or indeed in the Holy Land ; since they had but 
that one altar where they could legally sprinkle the blood 
of the victims. 

Secondly, we have also seen that, in cases of doubt 


relative to the time of the appearance of the new moon, 
the Jews were permitted to hold the passover both days ; 
and that it is probable such a dubious case existed at the 
time in question. In any of these cases the lamb might 
have been killed and its blood sprinkled according to the 
rules and ceremonies of the Jewish church. 

Thirdly, as our Lord was the true paschal Iamb, who 
was, in a few hours after this time, to bear away the sin 
of the world, he might dispense with this part of the 
ceremony, and act as Lord of his own institution, in this, 
as he had done before in the case of the Sabbath. At 
any rate, as it seems probable that he ate the passover 
at this time, and that he died about the time the Jews 
offered theirs, it may be fully presumed that he left 
nothing undone towards a due performance of the rite, 
which the present necessity required, or the law of God 
could demand. 

The objection, that our Lord and his disciples appear 
to have sat or reclined at table all the time they ate what 
is supposed above to have been the passover, contrary to 
the paschal institution, which required them to eat it 
standing, with their staves in their hands, their loins 
girded, and their shoes on, cannot be considered as having 
any great weight in it ; for, though the terms avnrtoe, 
Matt. xxvi. 20, and avixuro, Luke xxii. 14, are used in 
reference to their eating that evening, and these words 
signify reclining at table, or on a couch, as is the custom 
of the Orientals, it does not follow that they must neces- 
sarily be restrained to that meaning, nor does it appear 
that this part of the ceremony was much attended to, 
perhaps not at all, in the latter days of the Jewish 

IV He did eat a passover of his own instituting, but 
widely different from that eaten by the Jews* 

b 2 


M. Toinard, in his Greek Harmony of the Gospels, 
strongly contends that our Lord did not eat what is com- 
monly called the passover this year, hut another of a 
nrystical kind. His chief arguments are the following : 

It is indubitably evident from the text of St. John, 
that the night on the beginning of which our Lord 
supped with his disciples, and instituted the holy sacra- 
ment, was not that on which the Jews celebrated the 
passover ; but the preceding evening, on which the pass- 
over could not be legally offered. The conclusion is 
evident from the following passages : John xiii. 1, " Now 
before the feast of the passover, Jesus knowing," &c. ; 
ver. 2, " And supper (not the paschal but an ordinary 
supper) being ended," &c. ; ver. 27, " That thou doest 
do quickly ;" ver. 28, " Now no one at the table knew 
for what intent he spake this ;" ver. 29, " For some 
thought, because Judas had the bag, that Jesus had said 
unto him, Buy what we have need of against the feast," 
&c. ; chap, xviii. 28, " Then led they Jesus from Caia- 
phas to the hall of judgment, and it was early ; and 
they themselves went not into the judgment hall, lest 
they should be defiled, but that they might eat the pass- 
over ;" chap. xix. 14, '' And it was the preparation of 
the passover, and about the sixth hour." Now, as it 
appears that at this time the disciples thought our Lord 
had ordered Judas to go and bring what was necessary 
for the passover, and they were then supping together, it 
is evident it was not the paschal lamb on which they 
were supping ; and it is as evident, from the unwilling- 
ness of the Jews to go into the hall of judgment, that 
they had not as yet eaten the passover. These words 
are plain, and can be taken in no other sense without 
offering them the greatest violence. 

Mr. Toinard having found that our Lord was crucified 
on the sixth day of the week, Friday, during the paschal 


solemnity, in the thirty-third year of the vulgar era, and 
that the paschal moon of the year was not in conjunc- 
tion with the sun till the afternoon of Thursday, the 
19th of March, and that the new moon could not be 
seen in Judea until the following day, Friday, concluded 
that the intelligence of the <paaiQ, or appearance of the 
new moon, could not be made by the witnesses to the 
Beth Din, or senate, sooner than Saturday morning, the 
21st of March. That the first day of the first Jewish 
month, Nisan, could not commence that thirty-third 
year sooner than the setting of the sun on Friday, March 
20th ; and, consequently, that Friday, April 3d, on which 
Christ died, was the 14th of Nisan, not the 15th, the 
day appointed by the law for the celebration of the pass- 
over. All these points he took care to have ascertained 
by the nicest astronomical calculations, in which he was 
assisted by a very eminent astronomer and mathema- 
tician, Bulialdus (Mr. Bouilleau). 

These two last opinions, apparently contradictory, and 
which alone, of all those offered on the subject, deserve 
consideration, may be brought to harmonize. That 
Jesus ate the passover with his disciples the evening 
before the Jews ate theirs, seems pretty clearly proved 
from the text of St. Luke, and the arguments founded 
on that text. 

All that is assumed there, to make the whole con- 
sistent, is, that the Jews that year held the passover both 
on the 13th and 14th of Nisan, because of the reasons 
already assigned ; and that therefore Peter and John, 
who were employed on this business, might have got 
the blood legally sprinkled by the hands of a priest, 
which was all that was necessary to the legality of the 

But, secondly, should it appear improbable that such 
double celebration took place at this time, and that our 


Lord couki not have eaten the passover that year with 
Ms disciples, as he died on the very hour on which the 
paschal lamb was slain, and consequently before he could 
legally eat the passover ; how then can the text of St. 
Luke be reconciled with this fact ? I answer, with the 
utmost ease, by substituting a passover for the passover ; 
and simply assuming that our Lord at this time insti- 
tuted the Holy Eucharist in place of the Paschal 
Lamb ; and thus it will appear he ate a passover with 
his disciples the evening before his death, viz., the mys- 
tical passover, or sacrament of his body and blood ; and 
that this was the passover which he so ardently longed 
to eat with his disciples before he suifered. This is the 
opinion of Mr. Toinard, and, if granted, solves every 
difficulty. Thus the whole controversy is brought into 
a very narrow compass ; our Lord did eat a passover 
with his disciples some short time before he died, — the 
question is, rehat passover did he eat ; the regular legal 
passover, or a mystical one ? That he ate a passover is, 
I think, demonstrated ; but whether the literal or mys- 
tical one, is a matter of doubt. On this point good and 
learned men may innocently hesitate and differ ; but, on 
either hypothesis, the text of the evangelists is unim- 
peachable, and all shadow of contradiction done away ; 
for the question then rests on the peculiar meaning of 
names and words. On this hypothesis the preparation 
of the passover must be considered as implying no more 
than, — 1. Providing a convenient room; 2. Bringing 
water for the baking on the following day, because on 
that day the bringing of the water would have been 
unlawful ; 3. Making inquisition for the leaven, that 
everything of this kind might be removed from the 
house where the passover was to be eaten, according to 
the very strict and awful command of God ; Exod. xii. 
15 — 20, xxiii. 15, and xxxiv. 25. These, it is probable, 


•were the acts of " preparation" which the disciples were 
commanded to perform, Matt. xxvi. 18 ; Mark xiv. 13, 
14 ; Luke xxii. 8, 1 1 ; and which, on their arrival at the 
city, they punctually executed; see Matt. xxvi. ID; 
Mark xiv. 16; Luke xxii. 13. Thus everything was 
prepared, and the holy sacrament instituted, which should, 
in the Christian church, take place of the Jewish pass- 
over; and continue to he a memorial of the sacrifice 
which Christ was ahout to make by his death on the 
cross; for, as the paschal lamb had showed forth his 
death till he came, this death fulfilled the design of the 
rite, and sealed up the vision and prophecy ; and eating 
bread and drinking wine, in the manner recommended 
by our Lord, must be considered as complete a symbol- 
ical representation of his passion and death, as the slay- 
ing and eating of the paschal lamb. 

All preparations for the true paschal sacrifice being 
now made, Jesus was immediately betrayed, shortly after 
apprehended, and in a few hours expired upon the cross. 
It is therefore very likely that he did not literally eat the 
passover this year ; and may I not add, that it is more 
than probable that the passover was not eaten in the 
whole land of Judea on this occasion. The rending of 
the veil of the temple (Matt, xxvii. 51 ; Mark xv. 38; 
Luke xxiii. 45) ; the terrible earthquake (Matt, xxvii. 
51 — 54) ; the dismal and unnatural darkness which was 
over the whole land of Judea from the sixth hour (twelve 
o'clock) to the ninth hour (i. e. three o'clock in the after- 
noon) ; with all the other prodigies which took place on 
this awful occasion, we may naturally conclude were 
more than sufficient to terrify and appal this guilty nation, 
and totally to prevent the celebration of the paschal cere- 
monies. Indeed the time in which killing the sacri- 
fices and sprinkling the blood of the lambs should have 
been performed, was wholly occupied with these most 


dreadful portents ; and it would be absurd to suppose 
that, under such terrible evidences of the divine indig- 
nation, any religious ordinances or festive preparations 
could possibly have taken place. 

My readers will probably be surprised to see the prece- 
ding opinions so dissentient among themselves, and the 
plausible reasons by which they are respectively sup- 
ported, where each seems by turns to prevail. When I 
took up the question, I had no suspicion that it was en- 
cumbered with so many difficulties. These I now feel 
and acknowledge ; nevertheless, I think the plan of re- 
conciling the texts of the evangelists, particularly St. 
Luke and St. John, which I have adopted above, is na- 
tural, and I am in hopes will not appear altogether un- 
satisfactory to my readers. On the subject, circumstanced 
as it is, hypothesis alone can prevail; for indubitable 
evidence and certainty cannot be obtained. The morning 
of the resurrection is, probably, the nearest period in 
which accurate information on this point can be expected. 
" Je suis trompe," says Bouilleau, " si cette question peut 
etre jamais bien eclaircie," — If I be not mistaken, this 
question will never be thoroughly understood. 

To conclude : It would be presumptuous to say, Christ 
did eat the passover this last year of his ministry : it 
would be as hazardous to say, he did not eat it : the 
middle way is the safest ; and it is that which is adopted 
above. One thing is sufficiently evident, that Christ, 
our paschal Lamb, has been sacrificed for us ; and that 
he has " instituted the Holy Eucharist to be a perpetual 
memorial of that his precious death, until his coming 
again :" and " they who with a sincere heart and true 
faith in his passion and death, partake of it, shall be 
made partakers of his most blessed body and blood." 
Reader, praise God for the atonement ; and rest not with- 
out an application of it to thy own soul. 



Do this in remembrance of me, is a, command by which 
our blessed Lord has put both the affection and piety of 
his disciples to the test. If they love him, they will 
keep his commandments ; for, to them that love, his com- 
mandments are not grievous. It is a peculiar excellence 
of the gospel economy, that all the duties it enjoins be- 
come the highest privileges to those that obey. 

Among the ordinances prescribed by the gospel, that 
commonly called the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper 
has ever held a distinguished place ; and the church of 
Christ, in all ages, has represented the due religious cele- 
bration of it as a duty incumbent on every one who pro- 
fessed faith in Christ Jesus, and sought for salvation 
through his blood alone. Hence it was ever held in the 
highest estimation and reverence ; and the great Ilieh- 

priest of his church has showed, by more than ordinary 
influences of his blessed Spirit on the souls of the faith- 
ful, that they had not mistaken his meaning, nor believed 
in vain ; while, by eating of that bread, and drinking of 
that cup, they endeavoured to show forth his death, and 
realize the benefits to be derived from it. 

If Jesus, in his sacrificial character, met with opposi- 
tion from the inconsiderate, the self-righteous, and the 
profane ; no wonder that an ordinance, instituted by him- 
self for the express purpose of keeping up a continual 
memorial, by means of the most expressive emblems, of 
his having died for our offences, was decried, neglected, 
and abused. The spirit of innovation and error left no 
means untried to pervert its meaning, restrain its influ- 
ence, and decry its effects ; but the true followers of Cod 
overcame all by the blood of the Lamb, and by their tes- 
timony ; and for holding fast faith and a good conscience 

b 3 


in reference to this sacred ordinance, how many of them 
were cruelly tortured ; and not a few on this very ac- 
count, gloriously maintaining the truth, were obliged to 
seal it with their blood. 

The sanguinary persecutions raised up in this land 
against the protestants, in the days of that weak and 
worthless queen, Mary, were levelled principally against 
the right use of this ordinance. It was not. because our 
fathers refused to obey the then constituted authorities 
of the state, that they were so cruelly and barbarously 
oppressed and murdered ; it was not because they were 
not subject to every ordinance of man, not only for wrath 
(fear of punishment), but for conscience' sake, that they 
had trial of cruel mockings ; but because they believed 
concerning this divine ordinance as Jesus Christ had 
taught them, and boldly refused to prefer the ignorance 
of man to the wisdom and authority of God. 

The abomination which maketh desolate had got into 
the holy place ; the state, corrupt and languid in every 
department, had resigned the administration of all affairs 
into the hands of a church illiterate and profligate be- 
yond all example and precedent. In this awful situation 
of affairs, the genuine followers of God showed them- 
selves at once, not in opposition to a tyrannical govern- 
ment, but in opposition to a corrupt and unprincipled 
priesthood. They would not, because they could not, 
believe that a little flour and water kneaded together, 
and baked in an oven, or anywhere else, were the body 
and blood of the Saviour of the world — the God who 
made the heavens and the earth, and the only object of 
religious adoration ! "Away," said the murderous priests, 
" with such fellows from the earth ! they are not fit to 
live : let- them have judgment without mixture of mercy, 
and anticipate their final damnation by perishing in the 
flames !" And they, rather than defile their conscience, 


or deny their God. embraced death in its most terrific 
forms; and through the medium of Smithfield flames, 
were hurried into a distinguished rank among the noble 
army of martyrs ! But their fall became the fall of the 
sanguinary power by which they were slaughtered ; 
and the blood of these martyrs was the seed of the 

"Godlike men ! how firm they stood ! 

Seeding their country with their blood !" 

In this most honourable contest, besides the vast 
numbers who suffered by fines, confiscation, and impri- 
sonment, not less than 277 persons fell a sacrifice to the 
ignorance, bigotry, and malevolence of the papal hier- 
archy. Among these were one archbishop, four bishops, 
twenty-one clergymen, eight lay gentlemen, eighty-four 
tradesmen, one hundred husbandmen, fifty-five women, 
and four children, who were all burnt alive, and this with 
circumstances of cruelty and horror which surpassed the 
bloodiest persecutions of pagan antiquity! But they 
conquered, and were glorious in their death ; and have 
handed down to us, uncorrupted, those living oracles and 
that holy worship which were their support and exulta- 
tion in the cloudy and dark day. Do their descendants 
lay these things to heart, and prize that holy ordinance, 
on account of which their forefathers suffered the loss 
of all things ? Are we indifferent whether, on this point, 
orthodoxy or heterodoxy prevail ? Or, what is of infi- 
nitely worse consequence, have we so neglected or mis- 
used this holy ordinance, until we have at length ceased 
to discern the Lord's body ? Is it not to be feared, that 
the sacrament of the Lord's supper has fallen into disuse 
with many, because they do not understand its nature 
and moral obligation ? And can it be deemed invidious 
to express a fear that possibly much of the blame attaches 
to the ministers of the gospel, because they are remiss in 


urging the commandment of their Lord, and showing the 4 
high privileges of those who conscientiously obey it ? To 
remedy this defect, as far as it relates to myself, I shall 
endeavour to set before the reader some observations 
on — 

I. The nature and design of this institution. 

II. The manner of its celebration. 

III. The proper meaning of the different epithets 
given to it in the Scriptures, and by the primitive church. 
And then — 

IV Add a few reasons to enforce the due and religious 
celebration of it, principally deduced from the preceding 

I. As our blessed Lord celebrated this ordinance im- 
mediately after his eating what St. Luke calls the pass- 
over with his disciples, and for which I shall by and by 
prove he intended it to be the substitute, it may be 
necessary to say a few words on that ancient rite, in 
order the more particularly to discern the connexion sub - 
sisting between them, and the reference they have to each 

The passover (nD3 pesach) was a sacrifice ordained 
by the Lord in memory of Jehovah's passing over (ac- 
cording to the import of the word) the houses of the 
Israelites, when he destroyed all the first-born in the 
land of Egypt ; and was certainly designed to prefigure 
not only the true paschal lamb, the Lord Jesus Christ, 
who was sacrificed for us (1 Cor. v. 7) but also the re- 
ception which those might expect who should flee for 
refuge to lay hold on the hope set before them by the 
sprinkling of the blood of Jesus. As this is a point of 
considerable importance, in reference to a right under- 
standing of the nature and design of the Lord's Supper, 
it may be necessary to show more particularly, both from 
the Scriptures and the ancient Jewish and Christian 


writers, that the paschal lamb was considered by them 
as a sacrifice of a piacular nature. 

God had required that all sacrifices should be brought 
to the tabernacle or temple, and there offered to him ; 
and this was particularly enjoined in respect to the pass- 
over ; so Deut. xvi. 5, " Thou shalt not sacrifice the pass- 
over within any of thy gates ; but at the place which 
the Lord thy God chooseth to place his name in, there 
thou shalt sacrifice." And this divine injunction was 
more particularly attended to in the case of the passover 
than in any other sacrifice; so that the ancient Jews 
themselves have remarked, that even in the time when 
high places were permitted, they dared not to sacrifice 
the passover anywhere but in that place where God 
had registered his name : thus Maimonides, in Halachah 
Pcmck, ch. 1. 

Dr. Cudworth, who has written excellently on this 
subject, has proved at large, from the Scriptures and the 
ancient Jewish doctors, that the passover was ever con- 
sidered by them as a sacrificial rite ; to which may be 
added, that Josephus considered it in the same light, by 
calling it Qvaia, a sacrifice ; and Trypho the Jew, in his 
conference with Justin Martyr, speaks of 7rpo/3arov tod 
ttckjx"- Ovuv, sacrificing the paschal lamb. Maimonides, 
in the tract above referred to, written expressly on this 
subject, speaks of the lamb as a victim, and of the so- 
lemnity itself as a sacrifice. Another of their best writers, 
Rab. Bechai, Com. in Levit. ii. 11, says, that "the pas- 
chal sacrifice was instituted in order to expiate the guilt 
contracted by the idolatrous practices of the Israelites in 
Egypt." And St. Paul puts the matter beyond dispute, 

by saying, to iraaxa iljJtuiv VTTtp i'iiauv tdvQr], XpidTOQ, ' our 

passover, Christ, is sacrificed for us;" virsp ^wv, ' - on our 
account," or " in our stead." It is worthy of remark, 
that when the passover was first instituted, a lamb was 


slain in every family, not by the hands of a priest, for 
that •would have been impossible, as only one existed 
who had been divinely appointed ; but by the first-born 
in every family, who were all considered as priests, till 
the consecration of the whole tribe of Levi to this office, 
in consequence of which the first-born were redeemed, 
i. e., exempted from this service, by paying a certain 
sum to the sanctuary. 

Justin Martyr, in his conference with Trypho the Jew, 
maintains this sentiment in a very strenuous manner, 
showing, from the Scriptures and the nature of this sa- 
crificial rite, that it was a type of Christ crucified for the 
sin of the world. One circumstance which he asserts, 
without contradiction from his learned opponent, is, I 
think, worthy of notice, whether the reader may think 
it of much consequence to the present subject or not : 
"This lamb," says he, "which was to be entirely roasted, 
was a symbol of the punishment of the cross, which was 
inflicted on Christ To yap 0-KToip.tvov Trpofiarov, <S)(r\pa.Ti- 
Zoiitjvov ofioiios T<fi cr^f/juan tov aravpov, owrarai. E'iq yap 
opOiog ofitXtoKOQ biairtpovarai airo Ttov Karwraruiv [ispwv fit- 
Xpi Ttjz KKpa\r]Q, icai tig ttoXiv Kara ro fiiraipptvov, ij> 7rpo- 
capruvrai Kai at x €l P e S T0V 7rpo/3arot>' "For the lamb which 
was roasted was so placed as to resemble the figure of a 
cross ; with one spit it was pierced longitudinally, from 
the tail to the head ; with another it was transfixed 
through the shoulders, so that the fore legs became ex- 
tended :" vid. Just. Martyri Opera, Edit. Oberther. Vol. 
II., p. 106. To some this may appear trifling, but it 
has seemed right to the wisdom of God to typify the 
most interesting events by emblems of comparatively 
less moment. He is sovereign of his own ways, and 
he chooses often to confound the wisdom of the wise, 
not only by the foolishness of preaching, but also by 
the various means he employs to bring about the great 


purposes of his grace and justice. The manner of this 
roasting was certainly singular ; and of the fact we can- 
not doubt, for Trypho himself neither attempted to ridi- 
cule nor deny it. 

But while I am considering the testimony of Justin 
Martyr, there is another passage still more extraordinary 
which I wish to place before the reader. In his dispute 
with this learned and captious Jew, he asserts that the 
Jews, through their enmity to the Christian religion, 
had expunged several passages from the sacred writings, 
which bore testimony to Christ, and to his vicarious suf- 
ferings and death ; and of which (at the challenge of 
Trypho, Mho denied the fact) he produces several in- 
stances, among which the following is the most remark- 
able. "When Ezra celebrated the passover, as is related 
Ezra vi. 19, &c, Justin says he spoke as follows : Kai 
timv HoSpag T(j> Aa<j>, tovto to iraaya o (Twrtjo i]iiu>v, tcai >j 
KaTufvyi] r/jKuW Kai tav SiavorjOrire, Kai avafii) vfiwv nri rr)V 
KapSiav, ute /jeWo/xev avrov ranuvovv tv Gtiptii,), Kai fifra 
ravra i\ttmtw[xev ett' avrov, ov /i£ Epij/ju>0j? 6 ro-rroc ovrog iig 
tov artavra ^povov, Xf-yet 6 Oeo£ tu>v SvvafiEotv. Ear ct /J.ri 
TTMTTEVOriTE avTip /jirjSE titTaKOUffjjrf rov Ky)pvyfia.TCQ avrov, egecQe 

tTTixapfia roif eQvevi- " And Ezra spoke unto the people, 
and said : This Passover is our Saviour and our Re- 
fuge : and if ye shall understand and ponder it in your 
heart, that we shall in time to come afflict him for a 
sign; and if afterwards we believe on him, this place- 
shall not be desolated for ever, saith the Lord of hosts. 
But if ye will not believe on him, nor hear his preach- 
ing, ye shall be a laughing-stock to the Gentiles." Vide 
Just. Martyri- Opera, Edit. Oberther, vol. ii., p. ll'tf. 
This, Justin asserts, the Jews had blotted out of the 
Septuagint translation ; and if so, they took care to ex- 
punge it from the Hebrew also ; for at present it exists 
in neither. Allowing this passage to be authentic, it is 
a full proof of my position, that the paschal lamb was 


an expiatory sacrifice, and that it prefigured the death 
and atonement of Jesus Christ. But of this the proofs 
already produced are sufficient; particularly that from 
St. Paul, independently of the quotation from Justin 

It is also worthy of remark, that even after the conse- 
cration of the tribe of Levi, and the redemption of the 
first-born, it was the custom for the people to kill their 
own passovers ; but the sacrificial act, the sprinkling of 
the blood, belonged solely to the priests. " Five things," 
says Rab. Abarbanel, " were to be done by those who 
brought a sacrifice, and five things by the priest. The 
first five were, 1. Laying on of hands. 2. Killing. 
3. Flaying. 4. Cutting up. 5. Washing the intestines. 
Those done by the priest were, 1. Receiving the blood 
into a vessel. 2. Sprinkling it upon the altar. 3. Put- 
ting the fire upon the altar. 4. Laying the wood in 
order upon the fire. 5. Putting the pieces of the victim 
in order on the wood." Here we see the part which both 
the people and the priests took in their sacrifices ; and 
these circumstances will give us additional light in an- 
other part of this discourse ; only we must observe, that 
the paschal lamb was never cut up, nor burnt; it was 
roasted whole, and eaten by the offerer and his family. 

The manner of celebrating the paschal sacrifice is par- 
ticularly detailed in the Mishna, " a monument of such 
antiquity as cannot," says Dr. Cudworth, " be distrusted 
in these rites." Nothing, say the rabbins, was killed 
before the morning sacrifice, and after the evening sacri- 
fice nothing but the passover. The evening sacrifice 
was usually killed between the eighth and ninth hour, 

e., half an hour after two in the afternoon, and offered 
between the ninth and tenth, i. e., half an hour after- 
three. But in the evening of the passover, the daily 
sacrifice was killed an hour sooner ; and after that began 
the killing of the passover, which was to be done be- 


tween the two evenings, tfmj/n )»a been hadrbayeem, Exod. 
xii. 6 ; the first of these evenings began at noon, from 
the sun's declination towards the west, and the second at 
sunset. But the paschal lamb might be killed before 
the daily sacrifice, provided there were a person to stir 
the blood, and keep it from coagulating, till the blood of 
the daily sacrifice was sprinkled ; for that was always 
sprinkled first. The lambs, says the Mishna, were 
always killed by three several companies: this they 
founded on Exod. xii. 6 : " And the whole assembly of 
the congregation of Israel shall kill it in the evening ;" 
understanding the words bnp hahal, my edeth, and ^n-w 
yishrael as implying three different companies ; by the 
first they meant the priests, by the second the Levites, 
and by the third the people at large : when once the 
court was full, they shut to the doors, and the priests 
stood all in their ranks, with round-bottomed vessels in 
their hands, some of gold, and some of silver, to receive 
the blood. Those who held the golden vessels stood in 
a rank by themselves, as did those who held the silver 
vessels. These vessels had no rim at the bottom, lest 
they should be set on the ground, and the blood congeal 
in them. The priests then took the blood, and handed 
it from one to another, till it came to him who stood 
next the altar, who sprinkled it at the bottom of the 
altar. After the blood was sprinkled, the lamb was hung- 
up and flayed. The hanging up was deemed essentially 
necessary, insomuch that if there were no convenience 
to suspend it, two men, standing with their hands on 
each other's shoulders, had the lamb suspended to their 
arms till the skin was flayed off. When flayed, it was 
opened, and the inwards taken out and laid on the altar ; 
and then the owner took up the lamb with its skin, and 
carried it to his own house. The first company being 
dismissed, the second came in, and the door was shut as 
before ; and after these the third company ; and for every 


company they sang anew the bVn hallel, or paschal hymn, 
which beglm with Ps. cxiii. : " Praise ye the Lord," 
mbbn halleluyah, and ended with Psalm cxviii. This 
singing continued the whole of the time which was em- 
ployed in killing the lambs. "When they ended the 
hallel, they began it a second time, and so on till the 
third time; but it was never sung entirely the third 
time, as the priests had generally finished by the time 
they came to the beginning of Ps. cxvi. : "I love the 
Lord, because he hath heard my voice," &c. When the 
lamb was brought home, they roasted it on a spit made 
of the wood of the pomegranate tree ; for iron was pro- 
hibited, and also all wood that emitted moisture when 
brought near to the fire ; but as the wood of the pome- 
granate was free from moisture, it was commanded to be 
used on this occasion. See Mishna, by Surenhusius, 
vol. ii., p. 135. Tract. Pesackim. These are the most 
essential matters mentioned in the Mishna relative to 
this solemnity, some of which tend to cast much light 
on our Lord's words and conduct on this occasion. 

That the holy eucharist was instituted in place of the 
passover has been largely proved by many, as also that 
baptism succeeded to circumcision. Dr. "Waterland, who 
has summed up the opinions of learned men on this 
subject, observes, that there are resembling circumstances 
common to the Jewish and Christian passover, which 
may be divided into two kinds. I. Some relating to the 
things themselves, n. Some to the phrases and forms 
made use of in both. 

I. Of the first sort are these : 1. The passover was of 
divine appointment, and so was the eucharist. 2. The 
passover was a sacrament, and so is the eucharist. 3. 
The passover was a memorial of a great deliverance from 
temporal bondage; the eucharist is a memorial of a 
greater deliverance from spiritual bondage. 4. The 
passover prefigured the death of Christ before it was 


accomplished ; the eucharist represents or figures out 
that death now past. 5. The passover was a kind of 
federal rite between God and man ; so is the eucharist, 
as it points out the blood of the Sacrifice offered for the 
ratification of the covenant between God and man. 6. 
As no person could partake of the paschal lamb before 
he was circumcised, Exod. xii. 43 — 48 ; so, among the 
early followers of God, no person was permitted to come 
to the eucharist till he had been baptized. 7- As the 
Jews were obliged to come to the passover free from all 
defilements, unless in case of burying the dead, which, 
though a defilement, was nevertheless unavoidable, 
Nunrb. ix. 6, 9; so the Holy Scripture commands every 
man to examine himself before he attempts to eat of 
this bread, or drink of this cup ; and to purge out the 
old leaven of malice and wickedness, 1 Cor. xi. 27 — 29. 
8. As the neglect or contempt of the passover subjected, 
a man to be cut off from Israel, Exod. xii. 15, Numb. 
ix. 13; so a contempt and rejection of at least the thing 
signified by the holy eucharist, viz., the atoning sacrifice 
of the Lord Jesus, must necessarily exclude every man 
from the benefits of Christ's passion and death. 9. As 
the passover was to continue as long as the Jewish law- 
was in force, so the eucharist is to continue till Christ 
shall come to judge the world. 

ii. The second sort of resembling circumstances con- 
cerns the particular forms and phrases used in the insti- 
tution. 1. In the paschal supper, the master of the 
house took bread, and gave thanks to God, who had 
provided it for the sustenance of rdan. Our Lord copied 
this circumstance precisely in the institution of the 
eucharist. 2. It was also a custom for the master of 
the house to break the bread, either before or after the 
benediction offered to God. That our Lord copied this 
custom, every reader knows. 3. The master of the 
house distributed this broken bread, for it does not ap- 


pear that the family were permitted to take it them- 
selves ; so our Lord, after having broken the bread, gave 
it to the disciples, saying, " Take, eat," &c. 4. In the 
paschal feast the master was accustomed to take a cup 
of wine, and pronounce a benediction to God, or thanks- 
giving, over it, after which it was termed the cup of 
blessing. To this circumstance St. Paul particularly al- 
ludes, when he says, "The cup of blessing which we 
bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ?" 
1 Cor. x. 16. 5. At the institution of the passover, it 
was said, " The blood shall be to you for a token upon 
the houses where you are ; and when I see the blood, I 
will pass over you, &c, Exod. xii. 13. The blood was 
a token or sign of the covenant or agreement then made 
between God and them, and ratified partly by pouring 
out the blood of the paschal lamb, and partly by feeding 
on the flesh of this sacrifice. In the institution of the 
eucharist, our Lord says, " This cup is the new covenant 
in my blood, which is shed for you, and for many, for 
the remission of sins." The cup here is put for wine ; 
and covenant is put for the token or sign of the cove- 
nant. The wine, as representing Christ's blood, answers 
to the blood of the passover, which was typical of the 
blood of our Lord ; and the remission of sins here an- 
swers to the jxissing over there, and preserving from 
death. 6. At the paschal feast, there was a declaration 
of the great things which God had done for that people ; 
and our Lord makes use of the eucharist to declare and 
point out the great mercy of God in our redemption ; for 
it shows forth the Lord's death (and, consequently, all 
the benefits to be derived from it), till he himself shall 
come to judge the world. 7. At the paschal solemnity, 
they were accustomed to sing a hymn of praise to God 
(see before, p. 35) ; and this part of their conduct our 
Lord and his disciples exactly copied : " And when they 
had sung a hymn, they departed," &c. 


The many resembling circumstances, real and verbal, 
abundantly show that this holy eucharist was in a great 
measure copied from the paschal feast, and was intended 
to supply its place; only heightening the design, and 
improving the application. See Dr. Waterland's Review 
of the Doctrine of the Eucharist, p. 64, &c. 

Having now proved that the paschal lamb was a sa- 
crifice, and seen that it prefigured the atonement made 
by Christ our passover ; and that in his death, and the 
circumstances attending it, the whole typical reference 
of that solemnity was not only verified but fulfilled ; and 
having also seen that it was in reference to the great 
atonement typified by the passover, and also that it was 
in the place of that ancient ordinance that our Lord in- 
stituted the holy sacrament of his last supper, I shall 
now more particularly, — 

II. Consider this divine institution, and the manner 
of celebrating it. 

To do this in the most effectual manner, I think it 
necessary to set down the text of the three evangelists, 
who have transmitted the whole account, collated with 
that part of St. Paul's First Epistle to the Corinthians 
which speaks of the same subject, and which he assures 
us he received by divine revelation. It may seem 
strange, that although John (chap. xiii. 1 — 38) mentions 
all the circumstances preceding the holy supper, and 
from chap. xiv. 1 — 36, the circumstances which suc- 
ceeded the breaking of the bread, and in chapters xv., 
xvi., and xvii., the discourse which followed the adnii- 
nistratioA of the cup, yet he takes no notice of the 
divine institution at all. This is generally accounted for 
on his knowledge of what the other three evangelists 
had written; and on his conviction that their relation 
was true, and needed no additional confirmation, as the 
matter was amply established by the conjoint testimony 
'■f three such respectable witnesses. 



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From the preceding harmonized view of this import- 
ant transaction, as described by three Evangelists and 
one Apostle, we see the first institution, nature, and 
design of what has been since called The Lord's Sup- 
per. To every circumstance, as set down here, and the 
mode of expression by which such circumstances are de- 
scribed, we should pay the deepest attention. 

1. " As they were eating" (Matt. xxvi. 6), either an 
ordinary supper, or the paschal Iamb, as some think. 
See the introduction. 

2. " Jesus took bread." Of what kind ? Unleavened 
bread, certainly, because there was no other kind to be 
had in all Judea at this time ; for this was the first 
day of unleavened bread, ver. 17, i- e.. the 14th of the 
month Nisan, when the Jews, according to the command 
of God (Exod. xii. 15 — 20, xxiii. 15, and xxiv. 25), 
were to purge away all leaven from their houses ; for he 
who sacrificed the passover, having leaven in his dwell- 
ing, was considered to be such a transgressor of the divine 
law as could no longer be tolerated among the people of 
God; and therefore was to be cut off from the congrega- 
tion of Israel. Leo, of Modena, who has written a very 
sensible treatise on the Customs of the Jews, observes, 
" That so strictly do some of the Jews observe the pre- 
cept concerning the removal of all leaven from their 
houses during the celebration of the paschal solemnity, 
that they either provide vessels entirely new for baking, 
or else have a set for the purpose, which are dedicated 
solely to the service of the passover, and never brought 
out on any other occasion." 

To this divinely instituted custom of removing all 
leaven previously to the paschal solemnity, St. Paul evi- 
dently alludes, 1 Cor. v. 6, 7> 8 : " Know ye not that a 
little leaven leaveneth the whole lump ? Turge out, there- 
fore, the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are 


unleavened. For even Christ, our passover, is sacrificed 
for us ; therefore let us keep the feast, not with old 
leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wicked- 
ness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and 

Now, if any respect should be paid to the primitive 
institution, in the celebration of this divine ordinance, 
then unleavened, unyeasted bread should be used. In 
every sign or type, the thing signifying or pointing out 
that which is beyond itself, should either have certain 
properties, or be accompanied with certain circumstances, 
as expressive as possible of the thing signified. Bread, 
simply considered in itself, may be an emblem apt enough 
of the body of our Lord Jesus, which was given for us ; 
but the design of God was evidently that it should not 
only point out this, but also the disposition required in 
those who should celebrate both the antitype and the 
type ; and this the apostle explains to be sincerity and 
truth, the reverse of malice and wickedness. The very 
taste of the bread was instructive : it pointed out to every 
communicant that he who came to the table of God 
with malice or ill-will against any soul of man, or with 
wickedness, a profligate or sinful life, might expect to 
eat and drink judgment to himself; as not discerning 
that the Lord's body was sacrificed for this very purpose, 
that all sin might be destroyed; and that sincerity, 
uXiicpivua, such purity as the clearest light can discern no 
stain in, might be diffused through the whole soul ; and 
that truth, the law of righteousness and true holiness, 
might regulate and guide all the actions of life. Had 
the bread used on these occasions been of the common 
kind, it would have been perfectly unfit, or improper, to 
have communicated these uncommon significations ; and, 
as it was seldom used, its rare occurrence would make 
the emblematical representation more deeply impressive, 


and the sign and the thing signified have their due cor- 
respondence and influence. 

These circumstances considered, will it not appear 
that the use of common bread in the sacrament of the 
Lord's Supper is highly improper ? He who can say, 
'' This is a matter of no importance," may say, with 
equal propriety, the bread itself is of no importance ; and 
another may say, the wine is of no importance ; and a 
third may say, " neither bread nor wine is anything, but 
as they lead to spiritual references ; and the spiritual re- 
ference being once understood, the signs are useless." 
Thus we may, through affected spirituality, refine away 
the whole ordinance of God ; and, with the letter and 
form of religion, abolish religion itself. Many have 
already acted in this way, not only to their loss, but to 
their ruin, by showing how profoundly wise they are 
above what is written. Let those, therefore, who con- 
sider that man shall live by every word which proceedeth 
from the mouth of God, and who are conscientiously so- 
licitous that each divine institution be not only preserved, 
but observed in all its original integrity, attend to this 
circumstance. I grant, that it is probable that their use 
of unleavened bread in the sacrament of the Lord's Sup- 
per may excite the sneer of the profane, or the pretended 
pity of those who think, in spirituality, they are above 
that which is infinitely above them ; yet while the con- 
scientious followers of God dare even to be singular in 
that which is right, and are not ashamed of Christ and 
his words, they shall be acknowledged by him when he 
comes in the kingdom and glory of his Father. I leave 
these remarks with the conscientious reader : but in this 
opinion I am not singular, as the Lutheran church makes 
use of unleavened bread to the present day. 

3. " And blessed it." Both St. Matthew and Mark 
use the word ivXoytjuae, blessed, instead of ivx^p^T^aag, 

VOL. III. c 


gave thanks^ which is the word used by St. Luke and 
St. Paul. The terms, in this case, are nearly of the same 
import, as both blessing and giving thanks were used on 
these occasions. But what was it that our Lord blessed ? 
Not the bread, though many think the contrary, being 
deceived by the word it, which is improperly supplied 
in our version. In all the four places referred to above, 
whether the word blessed or gave thanks is used, it 
refers, not to the bread, but to God, the dispenser of every 
good. Our Lord here conforms himself to that constant 
Jewish custom, viz., of acknowledging God as the author 
of every good and perfect gift, by giving thanks on taking 
the bread and taking the cup at the ordinary meals. 
For every Jew was forbidden to eat, drink, or use any of 
God's creatures without rendering him thanks ; and he 
who acted contrary to the command was considered as a 
person who was guilty of sacrilege. From this custom 
we have derived the decent and laudable one of say- 
ing grace {gratias, thanks) before and after meat. 
The Jewish form of blessing, and probably that which 
our Lord used on this occasion, none of my readers 
will be displeased to find here. On taking the bread, 
they say : 

Baruch atta Eloheenoo, Melech haolam, hamotse lechem min haarets. 

" Blessed be thou our God, King of the universe, who bringest 
forth bread out of the earth ! " 

Likewise on taking the cup, they say : 

IDjn -i3 torn nbii/n -\bv 13t6k -pia 

Baruch, Eloheenoo, Melech haolam, Bore peree haggephen. 

" Blessed be our God, the King of the universe, the Creator of 
fhe fruit of the vine ! " 


The Mohammedans copy their example, constantly 
saying before and after meat, 

BismiUahi arrahmani arraheemi. 
" In the name of God, the most merciful, the most compassionate." 

No blessing, therefore, of the elements is here intended; 
they were already blessed, in being sent as a gift of 
mercy from the bountiful Lord ; but God, the sender, is 
blessed, because of the liberal provision he has made for 
his worthless creatures. Blessing and touching the 
bread are merely popish ceremonies, unauthorised either 
by Scripture, or the practice of the pure church of God ; 
necessary of course to them who pretend to transmute, 
by a kind of spiritual incantation, the bread and wine, 
into the real body and blood of Jesus Christ ; a measure 
the grossest in folly, and most stupid in nonsense, to 
which God, in judgment, ever abandoned the fallen 
spirit of man. What was it that, under God, generated 
Protestantism ? The protestation of a few of his fol- 
lowers in 1529, against the supremacy of the pope, the 
extravagant, disgraceful, and impious doctrine of transub- 
stantiation, purgatory, and the sale of indulgences con- 
nected with it. But let the protestant take care that, 
while he rejects a doctrine teeming with monstrous ab- 
surdities, and every contradictious sentiment, he also 
avoids those acts and ridiculous rites, such as blessing and 
touching the sacred elements, by which it was pretended 
that this fancied transubstantiation was brought about. 

4. " And brake it." We often read in the Scriptures 
of breaking bread, but never of cutting it. The Jewish 
people had nothing analogous to our high-raised loaf: 
their bread was made broad and thin, and was conse- 



quently very brittle ; and to divide it, there was no need 
of a knife. 

The breaking of the bread, I consider highly necessary 
to the proper performance of this solemn and significant 
ceremony ; because this act was designed by our Lord to 
shadow forth the wounding, piercing, and breaking of 
his body upon the cross ; and all this was essentially ne- 
cessary to the making a full atonement for the sin of the 
world ; so it is of vast importance that this apparently 
little circumstance, the breaking of the bread, should be 
carefully attended to, that the godly communicant may 
have every necessary assistance to enable him to discern 
the Lord's body, while engaged in this most important 
and divine of all God's ordinances. But who does not 
see that one small cube of fermented, i. e., leavened 
bread, previously divided from the mass with a knife, 
and separated by the fingers of the minister, can never 
fully answer the end of the institution, either as to the 
matter of the bread, or the mode of dividing it ? Man 
is naturally a dull and heedless creature, especially hi 
spiritual things, and has need of the utmost assistance of 
his senses, in union with those expressive rites and cere- 
monies which the Holy Scripture, not tradition, has sanc- 
tioned, in order to enable him to arrive at spiritual things 
through the medium of earthly similitudes. 

5. "He gave it unto his disciples." Not only the 
breaking, but also the distribution of the bread are ne- 
cessary parts of this rite. In the Romish Church the 
bread is not broken nor delivered to the people that 
they may take and eat; but the consecrated wafer is 
put upon their tongue by the priest, and he is reputed 
the most worthy communicant who does not masticate, 
but swallow it whole. 

" That the breaking of this bread to be distributed," 
says Dr. Whitby, " is a necessary part of this rite, is evi- 


dent, 1. By the continual mention of it by St. Paul, 
and all the evangelists, when they speak of the institu- 
tion of this sacrament, which shows it to be a necessary 
part of it. 2. Christ says, ' Take, eat ; this is my body, 
broken for you.' 1 Cor. xi. 24. But when the elements 
are not broken, it can be no more said, 'This is my body, 
broken for you, than where the elements are not given. 
3. Our Lord said, ' Do this in remembrance of me :' i. e., 
'Eat this bread broken, in remembrance of my body 
broken on the cross; now where no body broken is dis- 
tributed, there nothing can be eaten in memorial of his 
broken body. Lastly, the apostle, by saying, 'The 
bread which we break, is it not the communion of the 
body of Christ ?' sufficiently informs us, that the eatin -j; 
of his broken body is necessary to that end, 1 Cor. x. 10. 
Hence it was, that this rite of distributing bread broken 
continued for a thousand years ; and was, as Humbertus 
testifies, observed in the Roman church in the eleventh 
century." — Whitby in loco. At present, the opposite 
is as boldly practised, as if the real scriptural rite had 
never been observed in the church of Christ. 

6. "This is my body." Here it must be observed, 
that Christ had nothing in his hands at this time, but 
part of that unleavened bread which he and his disciples 
had been eating at supper, and therefore he could mean 
no more than this, viz., that the bread which he was 
now breaking represented his body, which, in the course 
of a few hours, was to be crucified for them. Common 
sense, unsophisticated with superstition and erroneous 
creeds; and reason, unawed by the secular sword of 
sovereign authority, could not possibly take any other 
meaning than this plain, consistent, and rational one, out 
of these words. " But," says a false and absurd creed, 
"Jesus meant, when he said, hoc est corpus meum, 
This is my body, and, hic est calix sanguinis mei, This 


is the chalioe of my blood, that the bread and wine were 
substantially changed into his body, including flesh, 
blood, bones, yea, the whole Christ, in his immaculate 
humanity, and adorable divinity !" And for denying 
this, what rivers of righteous blood have been shed by 
state persecutions, and by religious wars ? Well it may 
be asked, " Can any man of sense believe, that when 
Christ took up that bread and broke it, that it was his 
own body which he held in his own hands, and which 
himself broke to pieces, and which he and his disciples 
ate ?" He who can believe such a congeries of ab- 
surdities, cannot be said to be a volunteer in faith ; 
for it is evident, the man can neither have faith nor 

Let it be observed, if anything further be necessary on 
this subject, that the paschal lamb is called the passover, 
because it represented the destroying angel's passing over 
the children of Israel, while he slew the first-born of the 
Egyptians ; and our Lord and his disciples call this lamb 
the passover, several times in this chapter : by which it 
is demonstrably evident that they could mean no more 
than, that the lamb sacrificed on this occasion was a me- 
morial of, and represented, the means used for the pre- 
servation of the Israelites from the blast of the destroying 

Besides, our Lord did not say, Hoc est corpus meum, 
"This is my body," as he did not speak in the Latin 
tongue ; though as much stress has been laid upon this 
quotation from the Vulgate Version by the papists, as if 
the original of the three evangelists had been written in 
the Latin language. Had he spoken in Latin, following 
the idiom of the Vulgate, he would have said, Panis hie 
corpus meum significat ; or, Symbolum est corporis mei. 
Hoc poculum sanguinem meum representat; or, Symbolum 
est sanguinis mei. This bread signifies my body ; this 


cup represents my blood. But let it be observed, that 
in the Scriptures, as they stand in the Hebrew, Chal- 
dee, and Chaldaso-Syriac languages, there is no term 
which expresses to mean, signify, denote, though both 
the Greek and Latin abound with them ; hence the 
Hebrews use a figure, and say, it is, for, it signifies. So 
Gen. xli. 26, 27 : " The seven kine are (i. e., represent) 
seven years." " This is (represents) the bread of afflic- 
tion which our fathers ate in the land of Egypt." Dan. 
vii. 24: "The ten horns are (i. e., signify) ten kings." 
" They drank of the spiritual rock which followed them, 
and that rock was (represented) Christ;" 1 Cor. x. 4. 
And following this Hebrew idiom, though the work is 
written in Greek, we find, in Rev. i. 20 : " The seven stars 
are (represent) the angels of the seven churches : and the 
seven candlesticks — are (represent) the seven churches." 
The same form of speech is used in a variety of places 
in the New Testament, where this sense must neces- 
sarily be given to the word. Matt. xiii. 38, 39 : The 
field is (represents) the world ; the good seed are (re- 
present or signify) the children of the kingdom : the 
tares are (signify) the children of the wicked one : the 
enemy is (signifies) the devil : the harvest is (represents) 
the end of the world : the reapers are (i. e., signify) the 
angels. Luke viii. 9: "What might this parable be?" 
rie EIH i) napa(5o\ri avTt] ; what does this parable signify? 
John vii. 36 : Tie E2TIN oiroe !> \oyog ; what is the signi- 
fication of this saying ? John x. 6 : " They understood 
not what things they were," two. HN, what was the sig- 
nification of the things he had spoken to them. Acts 
x. 17 : ti av EIH to bpafia ; what this vision MIGHT be ? 
properly rendered by our translators, what this vision 
should mean. Gal. iv. 24 : " For these are the two cove- 
nants;" airaiyap EISIN ai Sva ZiaQr)Kai, these SIGNIFY the 
two covenants. Luke xv. 26 : " He asked n EIH Tavra, 


what these things iueant." See also chap, xviii. 36. 
After such unequivocal testimony from the sacred writ- 
ings, can any person doubt that, This bread is my body, 
has any other meaning than, This represents my 

That our Lord neither spoke in Greek nor in Latin 

* The Latins use the verb sum, in all its forms, with a similar 
latitude of meaning ; so, esse one'ri ferendo, he is able to bear the 
burden : bene esse, to line sumptuously : male esse, to live mise- 
rably : recte esse, to enjoy good health : est mihi fistula, I possess a 
flute : est hodie in rebus, he now enjoys a plentiful fortune : est 
mihi namquedomi pater, I have a father at home : esse solvendo, to 
be able to pay : Fuimus Troes ; fuit Ilium, The Trojans are extinct ; 
Troy is no more. 

In Greek also, and Hebrew, it often signifies to live, to die, to be 
killed : owe EIMI, I am dead, or a dead man. Matt. ii. 18 : Rachael 
weeping for her children, on owe EISI, because they were mur- 
dered. Gen. xliii. 36 : Joseph is not, WN t)DV Yoseph einennu, 
laionty owe ESTIN, Sept. i. e., Joseph is devoured by a wild beast. 
Rom. iv. 17 : Calling the things that are not, as if thev were alive. 
So Plutarch, in Laconicis. "This shield thy father always pre- 
served ; preserve thou it, or may thou not be" — jj fir) ESO, may 
thou perish. OYK ONTES NOMOI, abrogated laws : EIMI ev Cfioi, 
I possess a sound understanding : «£ naTtpa vjitv E20MAI, 
I will perform the part of a father to you : EIMI rjjc woXetog rqgSe, 
I am an inhabitant of that city. 

Tertullian seems to have had a correct notion of these words of 
our Lord, when he said, " Acceptum panem et distributum disci- 
pulis, corpus ilium suum fecit, hoc est corpus meum dicendo, id est, 
Figura corporis mei." Advers. Mansion., lib. v., c. 40. Having 
taken the bread and distributed it to his disciples, he made it his 
body by saying This is my body ; i. e., a figure of my body. 1 Tim. 
i. 7. Desiring to be teachers of the law, OiKovtcq EINAI j/o/io- 
SiiauKaXoi, desiring to be reputed teachers of the law, i. e., able 
divines. Ta ONTA, the things that are, i. e., noble and honoura 
hie men : to. [it] ONTA, the things that are not, viz., the vulgar, or 
those of ignoble birth. 


on this occasion, needs no proof. It was, most probably, 
in what was formerly called the Chaldaic, now the Chal- 
da30-Syriac, that our Lord conversed with his disciples 
Through the providence of God, we have complete Versions 
of the gospels in this language ; and in them, it is likely 
we have the precise words spoken by our Lord on this oc- 
casion. In Matt. xxvi. 26 and 27, the words in the Syria c 

Version are — u; ■>,?> QJOl this is my body, . A<^ oaci 

this is my Hood: of which forms of speech, the Greek 
tovto ion to mafia fiov — tovto igti to aifia fiov, is a verbal 
translation ; nor would any man, even in the present 
day, speaking in the same language, use, among the peo- 
ple to whom it was vernacular, other terms than the 
above to express, This represents my body, and, This re - 
presents my blood. 

But this form of speech is common, even in our own 
language, though we have terms enough to fill up the ellip- 
sis. Suppose a man entering into a Museum, enriched 
with the remains of ancient Greek sculpture ; his eyes 
are attracted by a number of curious busts ; and on in- 
quiring what they are, he learns, this is Socrates, that is 
Plato, a third is Homer ; others are Hesiod, Horace, 
Virgil, Demosthenes, Cicero, Herodotus, Livy, Cassar, 
Nero, Vespasian, &c. Is he deceived by this informa- 
tion ? Not at all : he knows well that the busts he sees 
are not the identical persons of those ancient philoso- 
phers, poets, orators, historians, and emperors, but only 
representations of their persons in sculpture ; between 
which and the originals there is as essential a difference 
as between a human body, instinct with all the princi- 
ples of rational vitality, and a block of marble. When, 
therefore, Christ took up a piece of bread, brake it, and 
*said, "This is my body," who but the most stupid of 



mortals could imagine that he was, at the same time, 
handling and" breaking his own body ! Would not any 
person of plain common sense see as great a difference 
between the man Christ Jesus and the piece of bread, as 
between the block of marble and the philosopher it re- 
presented, in the case referred to above ? The truth is, 
there is scarcely a more common form of speech in any 
language than, this is, for, this represents or signifies. 
And as our Lord refers, in the whole of this transaction, 
to the ordinance of the passover, we may consider him as 
saying, " This bread is now my body, in that sense in 
which the paschal lamb has been my body hitherto ; and 
this cup is my blood of the New Testament, in the same 
sense as the blood of bulls and goats has been my blood 
under the old ; Exod. xxiv. Heb. ix., i. e., The paschal 
lamb, and the sprinkling of blood, represented my sacri- 
fice to the present time ; this bread and this wine shall 
represent my body and blood through all future ages : 
' do this in remembrance of me."' 

Perhaps, to many of my readers it may appear utterly 
improbable, that in the present enlightened age, as it is 
called, any people can be found who seriously and con- 
sistently credit the doctrine of transubstantiation. Lest 
I should fall under the charge of misrepresentation, I 
shall here transcribe the eighth lesson of the " Catechism 
for the Use of all the Churches in the French Empire,'' 
published in 1806 by the authority of the Emperor Na- 
poleon Buonaparte, with the bull of the Pope, and the 
mandamus of the Archbishop of Paris; which on this 
subject is exactly a counterpart to all that have been 
published from time immemorial, in the popish churches. 

Q. What is the sacrament of the Eucharist ? 

A. The Eucharist is a sacrament which contains 


really and substantially the body, blood, soul, and 
divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ, under the forms or 
appearance of bread and wine. 

Q. What is at first put on the altar, and in the cha- 
lice ? Is it not bread and wine ? 

A. Yes : and it continues to be bread and wine till 


Q. What influence have these words ? 

A. The bread is changed into the body, and the wine 
is changed into the blood, of our Lord. 

Q. Does nothing of the bread and wine remain ? 

A. Nothing of them remains except the forms. 

Q. What do you call the forms of the bread and 
wine ? 

A. That which appears to our senses, as colour,, 
figure, and taste. 

Q. Is there nothing under the form of bread except 
the body of our Lord ? 

A. Besides his body, there is his blood, his soul, and 
his divinity ; because all these are inseparable. 

Q. And under the form of wine ? 

A. Jesus Christ is there as entire as under the form 
of the bread. 

Q. When the forms of the bread and wine are di- 
vided, is Jesus Christ divided ? 

A. No : Jesus Christ remains entire under each part 
of the form divided. 

Q. Say, in a word, what Jesus Christ gives us under 
each form ? 

A. All that he is, that is, perfect God and perfect 


Q. Does Jesus Christ leave heaven to come into the 
Eucharist ? 

A. No. He always continues at the right hand of 


God, his Father, till he shall come at the end of the 
world, with'great glory, to judge the living and the dead. 

Q. Then how can he be present at the altar ? 

A. By the almighty power of God. 

Q. Then it is not man that works this miracle ? 

A. No : it is Jesus Christ, whose word is employed in 
the sacrament. 

Q. Then it is Jesus Christ who consecrates ? 

A. It is Jesus Christ who consecrates : the priest is 
only his minister. 

Q. Must we worship the body and blood of Jesus 
Christ in the Eucharist ? 

A. Yes, undoubtedly; for this body and this blood 
are inseparably united to his divinity. 

To show that this is consistent with the canon of the 
mass, I shall translate the consecration-prayer from the 
Roman Missal. When the priest receives the bread and 
wine, he thus prays, making the sign of the cross where 
this mark >{« appears : 

" We beseech thee, God, to render this oblation in 
all things bless>J<ed, approved, effectual, reasonable, 
and acceptable, that it may be made to us the bo>{<dy 
and bl>J«ood of thy most beloved Son, our Lord Jesus 
Christ ! who, the day before he suffered, took bread into 
his sacred and venerable hands, and having lifted up his 
eyes to thee, O God, the Father Almighty, and, giving 
thanks to thee, bless>Jied, brake, and gave it to his dis- 
ciples, saying, Take, and eat ye all of this, for this is my 

QThen the priest adores, and elevates the consecrated 

"In like manner after he had supped, taking also 


this excellent chalice into his sacred and venerable hands, 
giving thee, also, thanks., he bless>i«ed and gave it to his 
disciples, saying, Take, and drink ye all of this, for this 
is the chalice of my blood (HIC EST ENIM CALIX 
SANGUINIS MEI) of the new and eternal testament, 
the mystery of faith which shall be shed for you, and for 
many, for the remission of sins : as oft as ye shall do 
these things, ye shall do them in remembrance of me." 

£Here the chalice is elevated and adored, and the 
Lord is besought to command his angel to carry these 
offerings into the presence of his Divine Majesty.] 
About 1218, Pope Honorius III. ordered kneeling at 
the elevation of the host. — Order of the Mass, Vol. I., p. 
24, &c. 

In " The Divine Office for the Use of the Laity," the 
person who is to communicate is ordered to "go up to 
the rails, kneel down, and say the confiteor (confession) 
with true sorrow and compunction for his sins." After 
the priest has prayed that God may have mercy upon 
him, and pardon all his sins, " he takes the sacred host 
(i. e., the consecrated wafer) into his hand, and again 
turns about, and says, ' Behold the Lamb of God ! Be- 
hold Him who taketh away the sin of the world !' Then 
he and the communicant repeat thrice, ' Lord, I am not 
worthy thou shouldst enter under my roof; sj>eak, there- 
fore, but the word, and my soul shall be healed,' the 
communicant striking his breast in token of his unwor- 
thiness." " Then," says the Directory, " having the towel 
raised above your breast, your eyes modestly closed, 
your head likewise raised up, and your mouth conveni- 
ently opened, receive the holy sacrament on your tongue, 
resting on your under lip ; then close your mouth, and 
say in your heart, Amen : ' I believe it to be the body 
of Christ, and I pray it may preserve my soul to eternal 
life.' — Ordinary of the Mass, p. 33. 


Believing that these extracts are sufficient to expose 
the shocking absurdity and idolatry of this most mon- 
strous system, I forbear either adding more, or making 
any comments on those already produced. 

7. St. Luke and St. Paul add a circumstance here 
which is not noticed either by St. Matthew or St. Mark. 
After, " This is my body," the former adds, " which is 
given for you :" the latter, "which is broken for you:" 
the sense of which is, "As God has in his bountiful 
providence given you bread for the sustenance of your 
lives; so, in his infinite grace, he has given you my 
body to save your souls unto life eternal. But as this 
bread must be broken and masticated, in order to its 
becoming proper nourishment; so my body must be 
broken, i. e., crucified for you, before it can be the 
bread of life to your souls. As, therefore, your life de- 
pends on the bread which God's bounty has provided 
for } r our bodies, so your eternal life depends on the sa- 
crifice of my body on the cross for your souls." Besides, 
there is here an allusion to the offering of sacrifices, an 
innocent creature was brought to the altar of God, and 
its blood (the life of the beast) was poured out for, or 
in behalf of, the person who brought it. Thus, Christ 
says, alluding to the sacrifice of the paschal lamb, This 
is my body, to virep vpwv SiSo/ievov, which is given in 
your stead, or in your behalf; a free gift from God's 
endless mercy for the salvation of your souls. This is 
my body, ™ imp vptov icXut^rivov (1 Cor: xi. 24), which 
is broken — sacrificed, in your stead; as without the break- 
ing (piercing) of the body, and spilling of the blood, 
there was no remission. 

In this solemn transaction we must weigh every word, 
as there is none without its appropriate and deeply em- 
phatic meaning. So it is written, Ephes. v. 2, " Christ 
hath loved us, and given himself imp »)/iwi/, on our 


account or in our stead, an offering and a sacrifice, 
6vaw, to God for a sweet-smelling savour;" that as in 
the sacrifice offered by Xoah, Gen. viii. 21, to which the 
apostle evidently alludes, from which it is said, " The 
I/ord smelled a sweet savour, nmn m riach hankhoaeh, 
a savour of rest," so that he became appeased towards 
the earth, and determined that there should no more be 
a flood to destroy it ; in like manner, in the offering and 
sacrifice of Christ for us, God is appeased towards the 
human race, and has in consequence decreed, that " who- 
soever believeth in him should not perish, but have ever- 
lasting life." 

8. Ver. 27: "And he took the cup, piTa to 8eurvt)<jai, 
after having supped," Luke xxii. 20, and 1 Cor. xi. 25. 
Whether the supper was on the paschal lamb, or whether 
it was a common or ordinary meal, I shall not wait here 
to inquire, having considered the subject at large in the 
introduction. In the parallel place in Luke xxii., we 
find our Lord taking the cup, ver. 17, and again ver. 19; 
by the former of which was probably meant the " cup of 
blessing," ro-nn pia kos haberacah, which the master of a 
family took, and after blessing God, gave to each of his 
guests by way of welcome ; but this second taking of 
the cup is to be understood as belonging peculiarly to 
the very important rite which he was now instituting, 
and on which he lays a very remarkable stress. With 
respect to the bread, he had before simply said, " Take, 
eat ; this is my body ;" but concerning the cup, he says, 
" Drink ye all of this ;" for as this pointed out the very 
essence of the institution, viz., the blood of atonement, 
it was necessary that each should have a particular 
application of it, therefore he says, " Drink ye all of 
this." By this we are taught that the cup is essential 
to the sacrament of the Lord's Supper ; so that they who 
deny the cup to the people, sin against God's institution ; 


and they who receive not the cup, are not partakers of 
the body and blood of Christ. If either could, without 
mortal prejudice, be omitted, it might be the bread: 
but the cup, as pointing out the blood poured out, i. e., 
the life by which the great sacrificial act is performed, 
and remission of sins procured, is absolutely indispen- 
sable. On this ground it is demonstrable, that there is 
not a popish priest under heaven, who denies the cup to 
the people (and they all do this), that can be said to 
celebrate the Lord's Supper at all; nor is there one of 
their votaries that ever received the holy sacrament ! 
All pretension to this is an absolute farce, so long as the 
cup, the emblem of the atoning blood, is denied. How 
strange is it, that the very men who plead so much for 
the bare literal meaning of this is my body in the pre- 
ceding verse, should deny all meaning to " drink ye all 
of this cup," in this verse ! And though Christ has in 
the most positive manner enjoined it, they will not 
permit one of the laity to taste it ! O what a thing 
is man .' a constant contradiction to reason and to him- 
self. The conclusion, therefore, is unavoidable. The 
sacrament of the Lord's Supper is not celebrated in the 
church of Rome. Should not this be made known to 
the miserable deluded Catholics over the face of the earth? 
9. I have just said, that our blessed Lord lays remark- 
able stress on the administration of the cup, and on that 
which himself assures us is represented by it. As it is 
peculiarly emphatic, I beg leave to set down the original 
text, which the critical reader will do well minutely to 
examine : Tovro yap £<m TO aifia fiov, TO rt]g Katvtjg SiadtjKrie, 

TO 7T£()l IToXKwV IKXVVOfllVOV UQ CtftGlV bfldpTKOV. The fol- 
lowing literal translation and paraphrase, do not exceed 
its meaning : — 

For this is that blood of mine [_ which was pointed 
out by all the sacrifices under the Jewish law, and par- 


ticularly by the shedding and sprinkling of the blood of 
the paschal lamb]. That blood [of the sacrifice slain 
for the ratification] of the new covenant. That blood 
f_ready to be] poured out for the multitudes fjthe whole 
Gentile world as well as the Jews], for the taking away 
of sins; sin, whether original or actual, in all its power 
and guilt, in all its internal energy and pollution. 

It will be of considerable consequence to ascertain 
what this cup contained. Wine is not specifically men- 
tioned, but what is tantamount to it, viz., what our 
Lord terms ysvrjfia tt]q a/nnXov, " the offspring or produce 
of the vine." Though this was the true and proper wine, 
yet it was widely different from that medicated and 
sophisticated beverage which goes now under that name. 
The i" yayin of the Hebrews, the oivoc. of the Greeks, 
and the vinum of the ancient Romans, meant simply 
the " expressed juice of the grape," sometimes drunk 
just after it was expressed, while its natural sweetness 
remained, and then termed mustum ; at other times, 
after fermentation, which process rendered it fit for keep- 
ing, without getting acid or unhealthy, then called oivoe 
and vinum. By the ancient Hebrews, I believe it was 
chiefly drunk in its first or simple state ; hence it was 
termed among them ia:n ns peree haggephen, " the fruit 
of the vine ;" and by our Lord in the Syriac, his ver- 
nacular language, *| Za^o> T^» the "young or son of 
the vine," very properly translated by the evangelist, 
yivtjpa r»je apirekov, " the offspring or produce of the 
vine." In ancient times, when only a small portion was 
wanted for immediate use, the juice was pressed by the 
hand out of a bunch of grapes, and immediately drank. 
After this manner Pharaoh's butler was accustomed to 
squeeze out new wine into the royal cup, as is evident 
from Gen. xl. 11. 

Were there not a particular cause, probably my de- 


scending j;o such minuteness of description, might require 
an apology. I have only to say, that I have learned with 
extreme regret, that in many churches and chapels a vile 
compound wickedly denominated wine, not the offspring 
of the vine, but of the alder, gooseberry, or currant-tree, 
and not unfrequently the issue of the sweepings of the 
fruit-bags, jars, and baskets of a grocer's shop, is substi- 
tuted for wine, in the sacrament of the Lord's Supper. 
That this is a most wicked and awful perversion of our 
Lord's ordinance needs, I am persuaded, no proof. The 
matters made use of by Jesus Christ, on this solemn 
occasion, were unleavened bread, and the produce of 
the vine, i. e., pure wine. To depart in the least from 
his institution, while it is in our power to follow it lite- 
rally, would be extremely culpable. If the principle of 
substitution be tolerated in the least, innovations without 
end may obtrude themselves into this sacred rite, and 
into the mode of its administration ; then the issue must 
be, what alas ! it has already been in numberless cases, a 
perversion of the sacred ordinance, so that the divine 
blessing no longer accompanies it ; hence it is despised 
by some, neglected by most, and by a certain class utterly 
rejected, and the Lord's body and blood little discerned, 
even by its sincere votaries. How truly execrable must 
that covetousness be, which in order to save a little 
money, substitutes a cheap and unwholesome liquor in- 
stead of that wine of which God is particularly styled 
the Creator, and which, by his own appointment, is the 
only emblem of the blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, even 
of that blood which was shed for us to make atonement 
for our sins, and preserve our bodies and souls unto 
eternal life ! These things considered, will not every 
reader conclude with me, that at least genuine bread 
and unadulterated wine should constitute the matter of 
the elements in the Lord's Supper ? 


10. " And when lie had given thanks." — See the form 
used on this occasion, in p. 44, and see the Mishna. 
Tract, mma beracotk. 

11. " For this is my blood of the New Testament." — 
This is the reading in St. Matthew and St. Mark ; but 
St. Luke and St. Paul say, " This cup is the New Testa- 
ment in my blood." This passage has been strangely 
mistaken : by New Testament, many understand nothing 
more than the book commonly known by this name, con- 
taining the four Gospels, Acts of the Apostles, Aposto- 
lical Epistles, and book of the Revelation; and they 
think that the cup of the New Testament means no 
more than merely that cup which the book called the 
New Testament enjoins in the sacrament of the Lord's 
Supper. As this is the case, it is highly necessary that 
this term should be explained. The original 'H Raw?) 
AiaOtiKt), which we translate " The New Testament," and 
which is the general title of all the contents of the book 
already described, simply means " The new covenant." 
Covenant, from con, together, and venio, I come, signifies 
an agreement, contract, or compact between two parties, 
by which both are mutually bound to do certain things, 
on certain conditions and penalties. It answers to the 
Hebrew ma berith, which often signifies, not only the 
covenant or agreement^ but also the sacrifice which was 
slain on the occasion, by the blood of which the covenant 
was ratified; and the contracting parties professed to 
subject themselves to such a death as that of the victim, 
in case of violating their engagements. An oath of this 
kind, on slaying the covenant sacrifice, was usual in 
ancient times ; so in Homer, when a covenant was made 
between the Greeks and the Trojans, and the throats of 
lambs were cut, and their blood poured out, the follow- 
ing form of abjuration was used by the contracting 
parties : — 


Zed KvCLort, fityiari, Kai aOavarot Ofoi aWoi, 

'OTTTTOTipOl TTpOTtpOl VTTtp UflKia TTrjftijVUaV, 

Qdt <r<p' eyKt(pa\oQ xa.jia.diQ ptoi, o>Q bfit oivog, 
Avt(i)v, Kai TtKttov' aXoxoi S' aXXoim fiiyuiv. 

All-glorious Jove, and ye, the powers of heaven ! 
Whoso shall violate this contract first, 
So be their blood, their children's, and their own 
Poured out, as this libation, on the ground ; 
And let their wives to other men be joined ! 

Iliad, lib. iii., ver. 293 

Our blessed Saviour is evidently called the'>Aia0»jK/j, 
mn berith, or covenant sacrifice, Isai. xlii. 6, xlix. 8 ; 
Zech. ix. 11. And to those scriptures he appears to 
allude, as in them the Lord promises to " give him for 
a covenant (sacrifice) to the Gentiles, and to send forth, 
by the blood of this covenant (victim) the prisoners out 
of the pit." The passages in the sacred writings which 
allude to this grand sacrificial and atoning act, are almost 

In this place, our Lord terms his blood " the blood of 
the new covenant ;" by which he means that grand plan 
of agreement or reconciliation, which God was now es- 
tablishing between himself and mankind, by the passion 
and death of his Son ; through whom alone men could 
draw nigh to God ; and this new covenant is mentioned 
in contradistinction from the old covenant, t/ waXaia Ma- 
BriKT) (2 Cor. iii. 14) ; by which appellative all the books 
of the Old Testament were distinguished, because they 
pointed out the way of reconciliation to God by the 
blood of the various victims slain under the law ; but 
now, as the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of 
the world was about to be offered up, a new and living 
way was thereby constituted, so that no one henceforth 
could come unto the Father but by him. Hence, all the 
books of the New Testament which bear unanimous 


testimony to the doctrine of salvation by faith through 
the blood of Jesus, are termed 'H Kainj AiaBrjicrj, " The 
new covenant." 

Dr. Lightfoot's observations on this are worthy of 
serious notice. " ' This is my blood of the New Testa- 
ment.' Not only the seal of the old covenant, but the 
sanction of the new covenant, The end of the Mosaic 
economy, and the confirming of a new one. The con- 
firmation of the old covenant was by the blood of bulls 
and goats (Exod. xxiv., Ileb. ix.), because blood was 
still to be shed ; the confirmation of the new was by a 
cup of wine, because under the new covenant there is 
no farther shedding of blood. And as it is here said of 
the cup, ' This cup is the New Testament in my blood ;' 
so it might be said of the cup of blood, Exod. xxiv., 
' That cup was the Old Testament in the blood of Christ ;' 
there, all the articles of that covenant being read over, 
Moses sprinkled all the people with blood and said, ' This 
is the blood of the covenant which God hath made with 
you ;' and thus that old covenant, or testimony, was 
confirmed. In like manner Christ, having published all 
the articles of the new covenant, he takes the cup of 
wine, and gives them to drink, and saith, ' This is the 
New Testament in my blood,' and thus the new cove- 
nant was established." — Works, vol. ii., p. 260. 

12. " Which is shed {kix^oikvov, poured out) for you, 
and for many." EK^tco and iicx vb >, to pour out, are often 
used in a sacrificial sense in the Septuagint, and signify 
to pour out or sprinkle the blood of the sacrifices before 
the altar of the Lord by way of atonement. See 2 Kings 
xvi. 15 ; Lev. viii. 15, ix. 9 ; Exod. xxix. 12 ; Lev. iv. 
7, 14—17, 30 — 34; and in various other places. Our 
Lord, by this very remarkable mode of expression, 
teaches us, that as his body was to be broken or cru- 
cified vTrep rifiwv, in our stead; so here, the blood was 


to be powed out to make an atonement, as the words 
remission of sins sufficiently prove; for without shed- 
ding of blood there was no remission, Heb. ix. 22 ; nor 
any remission by shedding of blood, but in a sacrificial 
way. See the passages above, and p. 61. 

The whole of this passage will receive additional light 
when collated with Isai. liii. 11, 12 : "By his knowledge 
shall my righteous servant justify many, for he shall 
bear their iniquities — because he hath poured out his 
soul unto death, and he bare the sin of many." The 
"pouring out of the soul unto death" in the prophet, 
answers to "This is the blood of the new covenant 
which is poured out for you" in the evangelist; and the 
tra-i rabbim, multitudes, in Isaiah, corresponds to the 
many, TroWhiv, of Matthew and Mark. The passage will 
soon appear plain, when we consider that two distinct 
classes of persons are mentioned by the prophet. 1. The 
Jews, ver. 4: "Surely he hath borne our griefs, and 
carried our sorrows." Ver. 5 : " But he was wounded 
for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities, 
the chastisement of our peace was upon him." Ver. 6 : 
" All we, like sheep, have gone astray, and the Lord hath 
laid on him the iniquity of us all." 2. The Gentiles, 
ver. 11: "By his knowledge," -inina bedato, by his being 
made known — published as Christ crucified among the 
Gentiles, " he shall justify c<m rabbim," the midtitudes — 
the Gentiles ; " for he shall (also) bear their offences," as 
well as ours — the Jews, ver. 4, &c. It is well known 
that the Jewish dispensation, termed by the apostle, as 
above, r} TraXaia SiaOriicti, the old covenant, was partial and 
exclusive ; none were particularly interested in it, save 
the descendants of the twelve sons of Jacob : whereas 
the Christian dispensation, ■q K aivn dtaGi^ti, the new cove- 
nant, referred to by our Lord in this place, was uni- 
versal ; for as " Jesus Christ, by the grace of God, tasted 


death for every man," Heb. xi. 9 ; and is that " Lamb of 
God that taketh away the sin of the world," John i. 29, 
who " would have all men to be saved, and come to the 
knowledge of the truth," 1 Tim. ii. 4 ; even that know- 
ledge of Christ crucified by which they are to be justi- 
fied, Isai. liii. 11 ; therefore he has commanded his dis- 
ciples to " go into all the world, and preach the gospel 
to every creature" Mark xvi. 15. The reprobate race — 
those who were no people, and not beloved, were to be 
called in ; for the gospel was to be preached to all the 
world, though it was to begin at Jerusalem. Luke xxiv. 
47. For this purpose was the blood of the new covenant 
sacrifice poured out for the multitudes, that there might 
be but one fold, as there is but one Shepherd, and that 
God might be all and in all. 

13. All this was to be done, tig a<pt<nv kjxa^TiMv, " for (or 
in reference to) the taking away of sins," ver. 28. For 
although the blood is shed, and the atonement made, no 
man's sins are taken away until, as a true penitent, he 
return to God ; and, feeling his utter incapacity to save 
himself, believes in Christ Jesus, who is the Justifier of 
the ungodly. 

The phrase a<p«ng twv apaprmv, " remission of sins," 
(frequently used by the Septuagint) being thus explained 
by our Lord, is often used by the evangelists and the 
apostles ; and does not mean merely the pardon of sins, 
as it is generally understood, but the removal or taking 
away of sins ; not only the guilt, but also the very nature 
of sin, and the pollution of the soul through it; and 
comprehends all that is generally understood by the 
terms justification and sanctification. For the use and 
meaning of the phrase a<pi mg d^apruav, see Mark i. 4 ; 
Luke i. 77, iii- 3, xxiv. 47 ; Acts ii. 38, v. 31, x. 43, 
xiii. 38, xxvi. 18; Col. i. 14; Heb. x. 18. 

14. Both St. Luke and St. Paul add, that after giving 


the bread", our Lord said, " Do this in remembrance of 
me." And after giving the cup, St. Paul alone adds, 
" This do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of 
me." The account, as given by St. Paul, should be 
carefully followed, being fuller, and received, according 
to his own declaration, by especial revelation from God. 
See 1 Cor. xi. 23 : " For I have received of the Lord 
that which also I delivered unto you," &c. 

As the passover was to be celebrated annually, to 
keep the original transaction in memory, and to show 
forth the true paschal lamb, the Lamb of God that 
taketh away the sin of the world; so, after the once 
offering of Christ our passover on the cross, he himself 
ordained that bread and wine should be used to keep 
that, his precious death, in remembrance until his 
coming again. Now, as the paschal lamb, annually sa- 
crificed, brought to the people's remembrance the won- 
derful deliverance of their fathers from the Egyptian 
bondage and tyranny ; so the bread and wine, consecrated 
and received according to our Saviour Jesus Christ's holy 
institution, was designed by himself to keep up a conti- 
nual remembrance and lively representation of the great 
atonement made by his death upon the cross. The doing 
this is not intended merely to keep a recollection of 
Christ, as a kind and benevolent friend, which is the 
utmost some allow; but to keep in remembrance his 
" body broken for us, and his blood poured out for us." 
For as the way to the holiest was ever through his blood, 
and as no man can ever come unto the Father but by 
him, and none can come profitably who have not faith in 
his blood ; it was necessary that this great help to be- 
lieving should be frequently furnished; as in all suc- 
ceeding ages there would be sinners to be saved, and 
saints to be confirmed and established in their holy faith. 
Hence we may learn, that God has made at least an 


annual celebration and partaking of the Lord's Supper 
as absolutely binding upon all who expect salvation 
through the blood of the cross, as he did the annual 
celebration and partaking of the passover on every soul 
in Israel who desired to abide in the Lord's covenant, 
to escape evil, enjoy the divine approbation, and be 
saved unto eternal life. Those, therefore, who reject the 
Lord's Supper sin against their own mercies, and treat 
their Maker with the basest ingratitude. He, in conde- 
scension to their weakness, has been pleased to point 
out to them a very easy way by which they may recall 
to their minds and represent to their senses, in a most 
lively manner, the meritorious death and passion of the 
Redeemer of the world; who, although he could not 
suffer on the cross more than once, has instituted an 
ordinance, by which that sacrificial act may not only be 
commemorated, but even represented, as often as his 
followers may think proper ; and all the blessings pur- 
chased by his real passion and death be conveyed to the 
souls of sincere communicants, through the medium of 
this blessed ordinance. The command, " This do in re- 
membrance of me," leaves us no choice. He who will 
have us to be saved, and come to the knowledge of the 
truth, will have us to use, as a means of salvation, the 
sacrament of his supper. He, therefore, who refuses to 
obey, boldly but awfully relinquishes his right to the 
tree of life ; and, either ignorant of the righteousness of 
God (his method of justifying sinners), or going about 
to" establish his own righteousness (his own method of 
obtaining salvation), rejects the divine remedy, in re- 
jecting the means by which it is conveyed. 

Let no man deceive his own soul, by imagining he can 
still have all the benefits of Christ's death, and yet have 
nothing to do with the sacrament : it is a command of 
the living God, founded on the same authority as " Thou 



shalt do no murder ;" none, therefore, can disobey it and 
be guiltless. Again, let no man impose on himself by 
the supposition, that he can enjoy this supper spiritually, 
without using what too many impiously call the carnal 
ordinance; i. e., without eating bread and drinking wine 
in remembrance of the death of Christ. Is not this a 
delusion ? "What says the sovereign will of God ? Do 
this ? What is this ? Why take bread, break, and eat 
it : take the cup, and drink ye all of it. This, and only 
this, is fulfilling the will of God. Therefore, the eating 
of the sacramental bread, and the drinking of the con- 
secrated wine, are essential to the religious performance 
of our Lord's command. It is true, a man may use 
these, and not discern the Lord's body — not duly and 
deeply consider, that these symbols point out the body 
and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, which were offered 
up to God for him ; i. e., he may possibly not keep the 
eye of his faith upon the atonement, while he is using 
the symbols, and thus the sacred ordinance be no more 
to him than a common thing ; but does not he who re- 
jects the symbols put it absolutely out of his power to 
celebrate the divine ordinance ? A man may rest in the 
letter, and not attain the spirit ; but can a man, who has 
it in his power to avail himself of the letter, and does 
not do it, consistently with the appointment of God, 
expect the spirit ? The letter may be without the spirit ; 
but can the spirit, in this case, be without the letter ? 
In other words, is not obedience to the literal meaning 
of our Lord's words essential to the attainment of the 
spiritual blessings to which they refer ? And is it not as 
absurd to expect spiritual blessings without the use of 
the appointed means, as to expect to hear sounds and 
see objects without the medium of the sun and atmo- 
sphere ? 

15. "I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the 


yine." — These words seem to intimate no more than 
this : We shall not have another opportunity of eating 
this bread and drinking this wine together ; as, in a few 
hours, my crucifixion shall take place. 

16. " Until that day when I drink it new with you." 
— q. d. I shall no more drink of the produce of the vine 
with you ; but shall drink new wine- — wine of a widely 
different nature from this, — a wine which the kingdom 
of God alone can afford. The term new in Scripture is 
often taken in this sense. So the new heaven, the new 
earth, the new covenant, the new man, mean a heaven, 
earth, covenant, man of a very different nature from the 
former. It was our Lord's invariable custom to illustrate 
heavenly things by those of earth; and to make that 
which had last been the subject of conversation the 
means of doing it. Thus he uses wine here, of which 
they had lately drunk, and on which he had held the 
preceding discourse, to point out the supreme blessedness 
of the kingdom of God. But however pleasing and 
useful wine may be to the body, and how helpful soever, 
as an ordinance of God, it may be to the soul in the 
holy sacrament ; yet the wine of the kingdom, the spi- 
ritual enjoyments at the right hand of God, procured by 
the sacrifice of Christ, will be infinitely more precious 
and useful. From what our Lord says here, Ave learn 
that the sacrament of his supper is a type of and a 
pledge to genuine Christians of the felicity they shall 
enjoy with Christ in the kingdom of glory. 

17. " And when they had sung a hymn." — 'Y/ij»j<ravr£c 
means probably no more than a kind of recitative read- 
ing or chanting. As to the hymn itself, we know, from 
the universal consent of Jewish antiquity, that it wa> 
composed of Psalms cxiii., cxiv., cxv., cxvi., cxvii., and 
cxviii., termed by the Jews Vtti ka/lel, from m^n hallelu- 
yah, the first word in Psalm cxiii. These six Psalms 


were always sung at every paschal solemnity : they sung 
the great Hillel on account of the five great benefits 
referred to in it; viz., 1. The exodus from Egypt, Ps. 
cxiv. 1 : " When Israel went out of Egypt," &c. 2. 
The miraculous division of the Red Sea, ver. 3 : " The 
sea saw it, and fled." 3. The promulgation of the law, 
ver. 4 : " The mountains skipped like lambs." 4. The 
resurrection of the dead, Ps. cxvi. 9: "I will walk 
before the Lord in the land of the living." 5. The 
passion of the Messiah, Ps. cxv. 1 : " Not unto us, Lord, 
not unto us," &c. 


Having thus minutely considered all the circum- 
stances relating to this institution, and distinctly noted 
the manner in which our Lord and his disciples cele- 
brated it, I come now, — 

III. To consider the proper meaning of the different 
epithets given to this sacred ordinance in the Scriptures, 
and among the early Christians. 

1. The most ancient, and perhaps the most universal, 
name by which this sacred rite has been distinguished is 
that of the Eucharist. This certainly had its origin 
from our Lord's first celebration of this holy mystery. 
For St. Luke and St. Paul both say, that when our Lord 
took bread, tvxapiarriaag, " having given thanks," he di- 
vided it among them. And though twXoyjjo-ae, " having 
blessed," is the common reading (Matt. xxvi. 16), yet 
almost all the best MSS. hitherto discovered have the 
former and not the latter word. From this word, Ev%a- 
piana, the Eucharist was formed; which, among the 
primitive Christians, meant solemn thanksgiving to God 
for the many mercies received ; and particularly for those 


conferred by the death of our blessed Lord. The fol- 
lowing quotation from St. Chrysostom will show in what 
light this divine ordinance was viewed among the early 
Christians, and what they meant when they termed it 
the Eucharist : Ata ?i) rouro Kai to. <j>piKo>dri jxvGTripia Kai 
iroWrie ytfiovra rijc uwrripiaQ, ra Ka6' tKa<STr\v Tt\ovp,iva 
ovva£iv, Evx a P l<TTla KaXtiTai, on ttoXXwv tariv evcpyi- 
Ttj fiariav avaji,vr]aiQ, Kai to KttyaXaiov Trie tov 0eou ■Kpovoia^ 
ivfitiicvvTai, Kai Sia "KavTmv ■napanKivaZ,u ivyapiaTtiv. — 
Homil. xxv. in Matth. See Suiceri Thesaur. in voc. 
EvxapwTta. " Besides this," says he, " those tremendous 
mysteries, replenished with abundance of salvation, 
which we celebrate in every congregation, are called the 
Eucharist, because they are the memorial of many be- 
nefits, and point out the sum of God's providence, and 
prepare us to give thanks in all things." 

From this we learn that the Eucharist among them, 
as representing the body and blood of Christ, was consi- 
dered as the sum total of all that the prescience of God 
had been planning and executing for them, from the 
foundation of the world ; that it was an exhibition of 
tremendous mysteries, such as the necessity of the in- 
carnation and death of Jesus Christ, the mighty God, 
for the sins of the world ; that in this sacrifice God had 
given us all possible blessings ; and that therefore the 
Eucharist, by which these things were called to remem- 
brance, is the means of replenishing faithful partakers 
with the plenitude of salvation, by which they are ena- 
bled to walk uprightly before God, and give him due 
thanks for his unspeakable gift. 

This appellative was not only general in the Greek 
church, from whose language it had its origin, but it was 
also common in the Latin church ; for among the west- 
ern Christians and Latin Fathers, as early as the times 
of Cyprian and Tertullian, Eucharistia meant what we 


term the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper. But what is 
more surprising, the term itself prevailed in the Oriental 
churches. Hence in Acts ii. 42, where it is said the 
apostles continued in rr\ Kkaau tov aprov, " the breaking 
of bread," the Syriac Version, the oldest and purest 

extant, reads the place thus ]j^flOVOolj l ^OO O 

ubekatsia d'aukaristia, " and in the breaking of the Eu- 
charist ;" where the reader sees the Greek word intro- 
duced into a language with which it has no kind of 
affinity. This, as being the general name by which it 
was known through all the churches of God, and being 
perhaps the most expressive of its nature, design, and 
end, should still be retained in preference to any other. 

2. Lord's Supper. It does not appear that this name 
was anciently used to signify the Eucharist. As our 
Lord instituted the Sacrament after supper, both have 
been confounded ; and through inadvertence, the Eucha- 
rist has been blended with this last supper, and called by 
way of emphasis, The Lord's Supper. In very early 
times, the Christians, in imitation of our Lord, held a 
supper before the Eucharist, which was termed ayann, or 
love-feast ; and it is very likely that it is to this, and not 
to the Eucharist, that St. Paul refers, 1 Cor. xi. 20 : but 
it appears also, that both the Lord's Supper and the Eu- 
charist were celebrated by the primitive Christians at the 
same meeting, and thus they became confounded ; and 
it is evident that St. Paul refers to both of these ; and, 
from his manner of treating the subject, we are led to 
infer that they were celebrated at the same meeting, and 
were, as Dr. "Waterland observes, different parts or acts of 
the same solemnity. 

Though this name is now a pretty general appellative 
of the Eucharist, I cannot help thinking it a very im- 
proper one ; and though the matter may appear of small 


importance, I think, as it is not sufficiently designator}', 
it should be disused. 

3. Sacrifice, Bvma. I have already produced some 
proofs from Justin Martyr, that the Eucharist was termed 
a sacrifice among the primitive Christians ; and this they 
did, First, Because it took place of the paschal lamb, 
which all acknowledge to be an expiatory victim. Se- 
condly, Because it represented the atonement made by the 
passion and death of Christ, for the sins of mankind. 
This notion of it has been greatly abused ; for in the 
Romish church, the bare celebration of it has been held 
forth in the light of an expiatory sacrifice, so that all 
who received it were considered as having their sins 
thereby cancelled : and they still boast that no church 
but theirs enjoys the benefits of the Eucharist; because 
they alone believe it to be the very body and blood, hu- 
manity and divinity, of Jesus Christ, and consequent!}', 
an available offering and expiation for their sins. Thus 
they, most unhappily, put the signifier in the place of the 
thing signified ; and resting in the shadow, they lose 
the substance, and do not discern the Lord's body. He 
that considers the Eucharist in this point of view, must 
necessarily attribute to bread and wine, that infinitely 
meritorious and atoning virtue which belongs to Jesus, as 
dying for our offences, and thus purging our sins by his 
own blood. From such an awful and destructive per- 
version of this divine institution, may God save them 
and preserve us ! 

Besides, it has already been proved, that in the Roman 
Catholic church the sacrament of the Lord's Supper is 
never really celebrated : they give not the cup, which 
is essential to the form and substance of the sacrament. 
See p. 58. 

But though this ordinance should not be considered as 
a sacrifice, yet it should be well understood that it repre- 


Bents one • And that every communicant may derive all 
the profit from it which it is calculated to afford, he should 
•partake of it in the spirit of sacrifice. As it represents 
a covenant sacrifice, in which the contracting parties mu- 
tually bind themselves to each other (God. offering him- 
self entirely, by and through Christ, not only to every 
true believer, but to every sincere penitent), the commu- 
nicant should consider that, in return, and in order that 
the covenant may be thoroughly ratified, he must give up 
his body, soul, and spirit unto the Lord, as a reasonable, 
holy, and living sacrifice; firmly purposing to devote 
every power and faculty to glorify his Maker and Re- 
deemer, as long as he shall have a being. He who is not 
fully determined to be wholly on the Lord's side, should 
not intermeddle with this sacred ordinance. We have 
already seen, p. 62, that in sacrificing, the pouring out 
of the blood of the covenant victim always implied the 
imprecation, that his blood who should first violate the 
conditions of the covenant, might be shed in like man- 
ner as that of the sacrifice. Hence that saying of St. 
Paul, 1 Cor. xi. 29 : " For he that eateth and drinketh 
unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation, Kpi/ta, judg- 
ment or condemnation, to himself;" i. e., he thereby for- 
feits his life according to the penal sanctions of the cove- 
nant, expressed by pouring the blood, which is the 
life of the victim. " For this cause," says the apostle, 
" many are weak and sickly among you, and many 
sleep ;" some of you are dying, and others dead ; — God 
having thus exacted the penalty of a broken covenant. 
Be faithful, therefore, to your God, and your soul shall 
live for ever. 

4. Breaking of bread, KXaatg T ov aprov. This I had 
long scrupled to admit as a legitimate appellative of the 
Eucharist, till I observed that the Syriac Version has 
rendered the passages, Acts ii. 42, xx. 7, instead of 


breaking of bread, breaking the Eucharist. See what 
is observed on this subject, p. 72. I therefore suppose 
that this was a common name for this sacred rite during 
the apostolic age ; but I think it was always used with 
a peculiar emphasis — breaking of the bread, or breaking 
of that bread, xXamg tov aprov. That this appellative 
descended lower than the apostolic times, we learn from 
Ignatius' Epistle to the Ephesians, chap, xx., where, 
speaking of the Eucharist, he terms it kva uqtov kKuivti^, 
i tan (papfiaKov aBai'dtnaQ, KaQaprripiov, aXt^ixuicov' " break- 
ing that one bread, which is the medicine of immortality, 
and the medicament which expels all evil ;" and Tertul- 
lian, de Oratione, cap. xxiv., speaking of St. Paul break- 
ing bread aboard the vessel (Acts xxvii. 35), says, In 
navi coram omnibus Eucharistiam fecit, " In the ship he 
celebrated the Eucharist, in the presence of them all." 
It is very easy to discover how this appellative arose ; 
for at the original institution, our Lord is said to have 
taken bread, and, having given thanks, he brake it ; hence 
the whole act was termed the breaking of bread. But 
this name, as not sufficiently expressive, seems soon to 
have given place to other terms, by which the nature and 
design of this institution were more forcibly expressed 
and better understood. It is evident, however, that a 
principal design of this name was to point out that unity 
and fellowship which these primitive disciples had among 
themselves, the highest proof of which in those eastern 
countries was, their frequently breaking bread, or eating 
with each other. 

5. Communion, Kotvtavia. In 1 Cor. x. 1 6, the Eucha- 
rist is called the " communion of the body and blood of 
Christ." As the term koivwviu signifies not only com- 
munion or fellowship, but also participation, it evidently 
signifies that the faithful partakers had thereby fellowship 
or communion with the Lord Jesus, being made partakers 
d 3 


of the benafits of his passion and death ; so that as truly 
as their bodies were made partakers of and were nou- 
rished by the bread and wine, so truly were their souls- 
made partakers of the grace, mind, and Spirit of the 
Lord Jesus, and thus " they dwelt in God, and God in 
them ; were one with God, and God with them." 

Suicer observes in his Thesaurus, under the word koi- 
vwvm, that this term meant communion or participation^ 
in reference to the Eucharist (for it had besides, different 
meanings), for the following reasons. 1. Because of the 
union of the faithful with Christ, and with each other. 

2. Because believers are thereby not only united to 
Christ, but are also made partakers of his kingdom* 

3. Because, through this fellowship or communion, they 
are deemed worthy of partaking of all that appertains to 

In the confession of faith of the Oriental churches, 
quoted by him, Ave find the following remarkable expo- 
sition of this communion or participation : H ayia koc- 
voivia avjifiokov rj}£ avaau>jiaTii>aiO}Q Kai lyKivrpiotuQ jjjuwi' 7rpo£ 
tov tvavBpwTrtjcravTa utov Kot Aoyov tov &tov, Si r/c lyxtv- 
tqigiojq St \vTpovnt9a tov aiiaviov Qavarov' tv)Q pi^VS 7 a (> 
vyiaivovcriQ icai aitOaWovorig, owe ea9' btnag pr) Kai tovq ic\n- 
Sovq avvvyiavtiv ravTy Kai avvQaWuv SiawavTOQ. vid. Suic. 
Thesaur., voc. koivwvio.. ; 'The holy communion is a 
symbol of our being incorporated and engrafted in the 
incarnated Son and word of God ; by which engrafting 
we are delivered from eternal death ; for while the root 
is sound and always flourishing, it is not possible that the 
branches united with it should not be sound and ever 

A two-fold communion is here pointed out. 1. Com- 
munion with Christ. 2. Communion with each other. 
For, 1. The branches, to continue flourishing, must have 
communion with the root, i. e., must be nourished by 


those very juices imbibed by the root ; and 2, As the 
branches, being all equally partakers of the root, have 
their common support and verdure from it ; so believers, 
being all equally united to Christ, and deriving all their 
nourishment and support from him, stand in the same 
relation to each other, as the branches do in the same 
tree. This is the import of the following words of our 
blessed Lord: "I am the vine, ye are the branches." "I 
pray for them that they may be one, even as thou, 
Father, art in me, and I in thee ; I in them, and thou in 
me, that they may be made perfect in one." — John xvii. 
21, 23. 

6. Sacrament. Sometimes called the Holy Sacra- 
ment, and the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper. The 
reason and true meaning of this appellative being, I con- 
ceive, very little known, I shall endeavour to consider 
this subject more minutely than I have done in any of 
the preceding cases. Though this term, as applied to 
the Eucharist, is nowhere to be found in Scripture ; yet 
it appears to have been in use very early in the primitive 
church. The first time it is mentioned, probably in re- 
ference to this solemn act, is in the well-known epistle 
of Pliny the younger to the emperor Trajan. This 
very learned and eminent statesman was appointed by 
the emperor to the administration of affairs, in the pro- 
vince of Bithynia, a country of Natolia or Asia-Minor, 
bordering on the Euxine Sea, through different parts of 
whose vicinity the gospel had been preached by Paul 
and Silas, Acts xvi. 1, &c, and probably by others be- 
fore them. 

In this country, multitudes had been converted to the 
Lord, so that when Pliny came to the government of the 
province, he found that multi omnis astatis, omnis ordinis 
utriusque sexus etiam, many of every age, rank, and sex 
had embraced the Christian religion; for "the contagion 


of this superstition," as he terms it, " was not confined 
to cities, but had diffused itself through all the neigh- 
bouring villages and country — Neque enim civitates tan- 
tum, sed vicos etiam atque agros superstitionis istius 
contagio pervagata est." Finding the Christian cause 
rapidly gaining ground, and the temples almost entirely 
deserted, and the rites and ceremonies of heathenism 
abandoned — " desolata templa et sacra solemnia inter- 
missa," he published a decree, by order of the emperor, 
forbidding the Christian assemblies on pain of death. 
The followers of Christ being hemmed in on every side 
by this state persecution, were obliged to relinquish 
their meetings very generally ; so that those which were 
held were confined to the sabbath, and then only before 

This subjected so many to accusation and consequent 
death, that the governor's heart began to relent ; and he 
wrote to the emperor, proposing a number of questions 
for direction in this important business ; transmitting to 
him, at the same time, the sum of all the charges that 
could be legally substantiated against the Christians. 
This most important piece of church history, so honour- 
able to the followers of Christ, and disgraceful to their 
persecutors, and in which we find the first mention of 
Sacrament, is still extant in Pliny's epistles, lib. x., Epist. 
97, vol. ii., p. 127, Edit. Bipont. 1789, 8vo. "Affirma- 
bant autem, hanc fuisse summam vel culpoe vel erroris, 
quod essent soliti stato die ante lucem convenire; car- 
menque Christo, quasi Deo, dicere secum invicem ; seque 
sacramento non in scelus aliquod obstringere, sed ne 
furta, ne latrocinia, ne adulteria commiterent, ne fidem 
fallerent, ne depositum appellati abnegarent : quibus pe- 
ractis, morem sibi discedendi fuisse rursusque coeundi 
ad capiendum cibum, promiscuum tamen, et innoxium. 
They aflhnied that the whole of their fault or error was 


this ; that they were accustomed to meet together on a 
certain day (stato die, the sabbath) before daylight ; and 
sing a hymn by turns (viz. a responsive song) to Christ 
as their God, and to bind themselves by a solemn oath 
(by a sacrament) not for any wicked purpose, but not to 
be guilty of theft, robbery, or adultery ; not to violate 
their faith, nor to deny any deposit when called on to de- 
liver it up : having done these things, it was their cus- 
tom to separate, and afterwards to re-assemble to eat in 
common an inoffensive meal." 

There is every reason to believe that Pliny refers here 
to the partaking of the Eucharist, and the solemn en- 
gagements they entered into with God when receiving 
the sacred ordinance, to depart from every appearance of 
evil, and render up in affectionate obedience their bodies, 
souls, and spirits to their Maker. 

The word sacramentum properly means the military 
oath of fidelity and obedience to his general, which every 
Roman soldier was obliged to take. From this we may 
learn both-the reason and meaning of the term sacrament, 
as applied to the Eucharist. Considering the various 
oppositions which the disciples of Christ might expect to 
meet with from the devil and his servants ; and which 
they were expected to resist, continuing faithful even at 
the hazard of their lives ; all that embraced the gospel 
were represented as enlisting themselves under the ban- 
ner of Christ, whose faithful soldiers they promised to 
be. And as the Captain of their salvation was made per- 
fect by sufferings, they were expected to follow him in 
the same path, loving not their lives even unto death. 
Now as in the holy Eucharist their obligations to their 
divine Leader were set before them in the most impressive 
and affecting point of view, they made this their cove- 
nant sacrifice an occasion of binding themselves afresh 
to their Lord, to fight manfully under his banner. Hence, 


as there wa£ a continual reference to the sacramentum, 
or military oath, the blessed ordinance itself appears to 
have been termed the sacrament, because in it they 
took the vows of the Lord upon them ; and as often as 
they celebrated this sacred ordinance, they ratified the 
covenant engagements which they had made at their 

What was the matter, and what the precise words of 
this oath, is a subject of inquiry at once both curious 
and useful. The very form and matter of the oath are 
both preserved in Polybius ; and a careful view of them 
cannot fail to cast much light on the subject now under 
consideration. In Histor., lib. vi., s. 1, where he is giving 
an account of the manner of raising, embodying, and 
enrolling the Roman troops, he observes, that when all 
the proper arrangements were made, and the different 
companies formed, the chiliarch or military tribune, se- 
lecting a proper person from all the rest, propounded the 
sacramentum, or oath of fidelity and obedience, who im- 
mediately swore as follows: H MHN IIEieAPXHSElN 
XONTQN KATA AYNAMIN. Ol Se Xoittoi navrtQ onvvovoi 
icaff iva irpoTTopivofiivoi tov t avro drjXovvTes on iroirjaovei, 
■n-avra KaOcnrtp 6 7rpwroc - — " SUBMISSIVELY TO OBEY AND 

all coming forward one by one, take successively the 
same oath, that they would perform everything accord- 
ing to what the first had sworn." Vide Polyb., a Gro- 
novio, 8vo., Amsterdam, 1670, vol. i., p. 650. Here, 
then, is the meaning of the word sacrament, so frequently 
used in the primitive church, and still common among 
the major part of Christians, who acknowledge the 
divine obligation of the Eucharist ; and who break bread 
and drink wine in remembrance that Jesus Christ died 


for them. He, therefore, who comes to this ordinance in 
the true primitive spirit, binds himself to God by the 
most solemn vow, that he will acknowledge him for his 
leader and director ; submit implicitly to his authority, 
perform his righteous commands, and exert the uttermost 
powers of his body and soul in the service of his Re- 

The word sacramentum I have often met with in 
ancient deeds, charters, &c, signifying an oath, espe- 
cially when, in swearing, the person laid his hand on the 
Holy Gospels. The promise then made was considered 
a holy obligation, which he was bound, at all events, to 
perform. This was still in reference to the military oath 
mentioned above. 

7. Paschal feast, Passover. This was a very an- 
cient title, and out of it many others of a similar import 
grew, such as God's Feast or Banquet, the Lord's Table, 
the Spiritual Passover, the Sacrificial Feast, &c. ; all of 
which seem to have had their origin in the consideration 
that the Eucharist succeeded to the passover, which was 
clearly founded on St. Paul's words, 1 Cor. v. 7, 8 : 
" Christ, our Passover, is sacrificed for us ; therefore let us 
keep the feast." Dr. Cud worth, who has written a very 
learned discourse on " The true Notion of the Lord's 
Supper," has fully proved, chap, i., " That it was a 
custom among the Jews and heathens to feast upon 
things sacrificed ; and that the custom of the Christians, 
in partaking of the body and blood of Christ once sacri- 
ficed upon the cross, in the Lord's Supper, is analogical 
hereunto." And he proves, in chap, ii., from Scripture 
and from Jewish authors, that " the passover was a true 
sacrifice ; and the paschal feast, a feast upon a sacrifice." 
And in chap. iv. he demonstrates, "That the Lord's Supper 
in the Christian church, in reference to the true sacrifice 
of Christ, is a parallel to the feasts upon sacrifices both 


in the Jewish religion and heathenish superstition." And 
concludes, in chap, v., " that the Lord's Supper is not a 
sacrifice, but a feast upon a sacrifice." 

Dr. Cudworth properly divides the sacrifices under 
the law, into three kinds : " First, Such as were wholly 
offered to God, and burnt upon the altars, as the holo- 
causts, or burnt-offerings, rvrru/ Sloth. Secondly, Such 
as the priests ate a part of, b'esides a part offered to God 
upon the altar ; as the sin-offerings, nxun chattath, and 
the trespass-offerings, dwk ashem. Thirdly, Such as the 
owners themselves had a part of, besides a part bestowed 
on the priests, and a portion offered to God ; these were 
termed the a-nbv shelamim, or peace-offerings." 

That the Gentiles feasted on the sacrifices offered to 
their gods, every one knows who has read the Greek and 
Roman classics; of this, the following proofs cannot be 
unacceptable to any intelligent reader. In Iliad. A. 
Homer describes a hecatomb sacrifice, which Agamemnon 
offered to Apollo by his priest Chryses, and a feast that 
immediately followed : 

rot S'wKa Qt(f> ic\uTr]v £Karo/ij3>jv 
'ESehjc ioTr}oav ivdfiriTov irtpt /Sai/toi'. 
Then, before the shrine 
Magnificent, in order due they ranged 
The noble hecatomb ! Ver. 447 

AvTap i-ki p' ivZavro, kcu ovXoxvrag Trpoj3a\ovro, K. r. X. 

and with meal 
Sprinkling the victims, their retracted necks 
First pierced, then flayed them. Ver. 458. 

Mijpove r' i^ira^ov, Kara rt Kvivay £Ka\v\j/av, k.t.X. 

the thighs with fire consumed, 
They gave to each his portion of the maw : 
Then slashed the remnant, pierced it with the spits, 
And, managing with culinary skill, 
They roast ; withdrew it from the spits again. 


Their whole task thus accomplished, and the board 
Set forth, they feasted, and were all sufficed. 

Ver. 460—468. 

In the second Iliad, Agamemnon offers an ox to 
Jupiter, and invites several of the Grecian captains to 
partake of it : 

Avrap o flow hpivoiv ava.%, avSpoiv Aya/te/ivwv, K. r. X. 

But Agamemnon in his tent prepared, 
For sacrifice to all-commanding Jove, 
A fifth-year fatted ox, and to his feast 
Summoned the noblest of the sons of Greece. 

II. B., ver. 403—431. 

In Odyssey r v Nestor sacrifices an ox to Minerva, in 
behalf of Telemachus and his friends, on which they 
all afterwards feasted. 

Avrap £7rjt Kara ju»jp* iicat], Kai mrXayxv nraaavTo, K. r. X. 

. The thighs consumed, 
They ate th' interior part, then slicing them, 
The remnant pierced, and held it to the fire. 
The viands dressed, and from the spits withdrawn, 
They sat to share the feast. 

Odyss. r., ver. 461—471. 

In the same book, the Pylians are represented sacri- 
ficing eighty-one black bulls to Neptune, at which were 
present 4,500 persons, who, having offered the thighs 
to their god, feasted on the entrails, and the rest of the 

See Cowper's Homer — Odyss. III., ver. 1, &c. 

Plato, in his second book, De Legibus, acknowledges 
such feasts under the name of 'Eoprai fitra Ouov, " Feasts 
after divine worship." 

Virgil refers to the same custom, Eclogue iii. ver. 77- 
Cum faciam vitula, pro frugibus, ipse venito. 

'' When, instead of offering fruits, I shall sacrifice a heifer, 
come thou to the feast." 


And thus in iEneid. viii., ver. 179, Evander entertains 
JEneas : 

Turn lecti juvenes certatim, arasque sacerdos, 
Viscera tosta ferunt taurorum — 
Vescitur ^Eneas simul et Trojanajuventus, 
Perpetui tergo bovis et lustralibus extis. 
" Then chosen youths, and the priests, with great dispatch, heap 
on the altar the broiled intestines of bulls. — yEneas, and with him 
the Trojan youth, feast on the chine and hallowed viscera of an ox.'' 

The ancient Persians were accustomed to pour out the 
blood of the victims to their gods, and then feast on the 
flesh. And the ancient Arabians did the same in their 
camel feasts. And, as Dr. Cudworth properly observes, 
from this custom of the heathens of feasting upon sacri- 
fices, arose that famous controversy among the primitive 
Christians (noticed in the New Testament), " whether it 
he lawful toOmv tiSu\o9vra, to eat things sacrificed to 
idols." Indeed, this custom was so common among the 
ancient heathens, that he who made use of any flesh at 
his table, which had not been offered to the gods, was 
deemed a profane person. Hence the Greek proverb, 
aOvTa toOuiv, " to eat things which had not been sacri- 
ficed," was used as a brand of a notoriously wicked 

It has been already remarked, that the Eucharist may 
he considered as a federal rite, for in this light the 
ancient feasts upon sacrifices were generally understood ; 
but, as this subject was but barely mentioned, and is of 
great importance to every communicant, I shall here 
consider it more extensively. 

Dr. Cudworth, to whose excellent " Discourse on the 
true Nature of the Lord's Supper," the preceding pages 
are not a little indebted, has, in his sixth chapter, some 
excellent observations on this head. That the eating of 
God's sacrifice was a federal rite between God and those 


■who offered it, he considers as proved from the custom 
of the ancients, and especially of the Orientals, who eat 
and drank together in order to ratify and confirm the 
covenants they had made. 

Thus, when Isaac made a covenant with Abimelech, 
it is said, Gen. xxvi., " He made him, and those who 
were with him, a feast ; and they did eat and drink, 
and rose up betimes in the morning, and sware to one 
another." When Lahan made a covenant with Jacob, 
Gen. xxxi. 44, it is said, " They took stones and made 
a heap, and did eat there upon the heap ;" on which 
text Rab. Moses Bar Nachman, makes this sensible 
comment : " They did eat there a little upon the heap 
for a memorial ; because it was the manner of those who 
enter into covenant to eat, both together, of the same 
bread, as a symbol of love and friendship." And Rab. 
Isaac Abarbanel confirms this : " It was," says he, " an 
ancient custom among them, that they who ate bread 
together should ever after be accounted for faithful bre- 
thren." In Josh. ix. 14, we are informed, that when 
the Gibeonites came to the men of Israel, and desired 
them to make a league with them, '• The men of Israel 
took their victuals, and asked not counsel of the mouth 
of the Lord ;" which Rabbi Kimchi thus expounds : 
" They took of their victuals, and ate with them by way 
of covenant." The consequence was, as the context 
informs us, " Joshua made peace with them, and made 
a league with them." 

Foederal rites, thus ratified and confirmed, were in 
general so sacredly observed, that Celsus, in his contro- 
versy with Origen, deems it an absolutely improbable 
thing, that Judas, who had eaten and drunk with his 
Lord and Master, could possibly betray him ; and there- 
fore rejects the whole account : 'On, says he, avQpwirog ptv 
6 Kotvwvriuag TpantliTje; oi/k av avTip iirifiovkivatiiv, TroWtp 


ttXcov 6 9£$> <tvvivu>xvQ u £ °vk av avrtf tirifiovXoQ fyivtro. 
" For if no man who has partook of the table of another 
would ever lay snares for his friends, much less would 
he betray his God, who had been a partaker with him.*' 
Origen, in his reply, is obliged to grant that this was a 
very uncommon case, yet that several instances had 
occurred in the histories both of the Greeks and Bar- 
barians. From these examples, Dr. C. concludes, that 
the true origin of the word ma berith, which signifies a 
covenant, or any federal communion, is the root ma 
barah, he ate, because it was the constant custom of the 
Hebrews, and other Oriental nations, to establish cove- 
nants by eating and drinking together. 

Nor was this the case among these nations only ; all 
heathen antiquity abounds with instances of the same 
kind. They not only feasted on their sacrifices (see p. 
195, &c), but they concluded covenants and treaties of 
all sorts at these feasts ; and as salt was the symbol of 
friendship, it was always used on such occasions, both 
among the Jews and among the heathens ; hence God's 
command, Lev. ii. 13, " Thou shalt not suffer the salt 
of the covenant of thy God to be lacking; with all 
thine offerings thou shalt offer salt." So among the 
Greeks, AX* e nai rpamKa, " salt and table," were used pro- 
verbially to express friendship ; and A\as kcu rpairtlav 
■napaficuvuv, " to transgress the salt and table," signified 
to violate the most sacred league of friendship. From 
these premises, Dr. Cudworth concludes, " As the legal 
sacrifices, with the feasts on those sacrifices, were fcede- 
ral rites between God and men ; in like manner, I say, 
the Lord's Supper, under the gospel, must needs be a 
fcederal banquet between God and man, where, by 
eating and drinking at God's own table, and of his meat, 
we are taken into a sacred covenant, and inviolable 
league of friendship with him." 


This is certainly true of every faithful communicant ; 
and much consolation may be derived from a proper 
consideration of the subject. If the covenant have been 
made according to the divine commandment (i. e., by 
lively faith in Christ, the real federal sacrifice), on God's 
part it is ever inviolate. Let him, therefore, who has 
thus entered into the Lord's covenant, continue stedfast 
and immoveable, always abounding in the work of the 
Lord ; then, " neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor 
principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things 
to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, 
shall be able to separate him from the love of God, 
which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." Amen. 

I cannot deny myself the pleasure of laying the 
substance of Dr. Cudworth's " Demonstration, that the 
Lord's Supper in the Christian church, in reference to the 
true sacrifice of Christ, is a parallel to the feasts upon 
sacrifices, both in the Jewish religion and heathenish 
superstition ;" which he proves from a passage in Scrip- 
ture, 1 Cor. x., where all these three are compared toge- 
ther, and made exact parallels to each other. 

Verse 14 : Wherefore, my dearly beloved, flee from 

Ver. 15 : I speak as to wise men : judge ye what I 

Ver. 16 : The cup of blessing which we bless, is it 
not the communion of the blood of Christ ? The bread 
which we break, is it not the communion of the body of 
Christ ? 

Ver. 18 : Behold Israel after the flesh ; are not they 
which eat of the sacrifices partakers of the altar ? 

Ver. 20 : But I say that the things which the Gen- 
tiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to devils (Saifiovtoic, demons), 
and not to God ; and I would not that ye should have 


fellowship, with devils {xaivutvovg twv Saifioviiav yivtoQai, 
that ye should be participators with demons). 

Ver. 21 : Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and 
the cup of devils (Satfiov.utv, demons) ; ye cannot be par- 
takers of the Lord's table, and of the table of devils 
(Sai/ioviiov, demons). 

In these passages the design of the apostle is to con- 
vince the Corinthians of the unlawfulness of eating 
things sacrificed to idols ; and he does this by showing 
that though an idol is nothing in the world, and things 
sacrificed to idols physically nothing, as differing from 
other meats, yet morally and circumstantially to eat of 
things sacrificed to idols, in the idol's temple, was to 
consent to the sacrifices, and to be guilty of them. 

This he illustrates first, from a parallel rite in the 
Christian religion ; where the eating and drinking of 
bread and wine in the Eucharist, as representing the body 
and blood of Christ, offered to God upon the cross for 
us, is a real communication in his death and sacrifice. 
Ver. 16 : "The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not 
the communion of the blood of Christ ? The bread 
which we break, is it not the communion of the body of 
Christ ?" 

Secondly. From another parallel of the same rite 
among the Jews, where they who ate were always 
accounted partakers of the altar, that is, of the sacrifice 
offered on the altar. " Behold Israel after the flesh ; 
are not they which eat of the sacrifices partakers of the 
altar?" — ver. 18. 

Therefore, as to eat the symbols of the body and blood 
of Christ in the Eucharist, is to partake of his sacrifice 
offered up to God for us ; and as to eat of the Jewish 
sacrifices under the law, was to partake in the legal 
sacrifices themselves ; so, to eat of things offered up in 


sacrifice to idols, was to be partakers of the idol sacri- 
fices, and therefore was unlawful ; for the things which 
the Gentiles sacrifice they sacrifice to devils ; hut Christ's 
body and blood were offered up in sacrifice to God, and 
therefore they could not partake of both together, the 
sacrifice of the true God, and the sacrifice of devils. 

St. Paul's argument here must necessarily suppose a 
perfect analogy between these three, and that they are all 
parallels to each other, or else it has no force. There- 
fore I conclude that the Lord's Supper is the same among 
Christians in respect of the Christian sacrifice, as the 
Jewish feasts or sacrifices were among them, and the 
feasts upon idol sacrifices were among the Gentiles ; and, 
consequently, that the Eucharist is epulum sacrificiale, 
or epulum ex oblatis, that is, a feast upon a sacrifice. 
Q. E. D. — " True Notion of the Lord's Supper," fourth 
edition, p. 26. 

Having thus sufficiently shown that the Eucharist is 
properly a feast upon a sacrifice, and afcederal rite, I shall 
now consider it particularly in the light of a feast. 

Aulus Gellius (Noctes Attics, lib. xiii., c. 11, Edit. 
Bipont. vol. ii., p. 60) informs us, that Marcus Varro 
WTote a treatise, entitled Quid vesper serus vehat? "What 
may the close of the day produce ?" in which he speaks 
of feasts, the proper number and quality of guests, 
and the custom and management of the entertainment 

A feast, says he, omnibus suis numeris absolutum est, 
is just what it should be, when made up of these four 
circumstances. 1. Si belli homunculi collecti sunt. 2. Si 
locus electus. 3. Si tempus lectum. 4. Si apparatus 
non neglectus. 

1. If there be decent respectable persons. 

2. A convenient and proper place. 

3. A suitable time. And, 


4. Proper cheer and accommodations. 

I shall" take these things in order, and apply them to a 
proper celebration of the Eucharist, considered in the 
light of a religious feast. 

1. Decent respectable persons. If ever attention should 
be paid to this point, it is when God provides the enter- 
tainment, and condescends to sit down with the guests. 
St. Paul has taken up the subject in a particular manner, 
1 Cor. xi. 27, &c., and it is highly necessary that we 
should weigh his important advice. 

He asserts, ver. 27, "Whosoever shall eat this bread 
and drink this cup unworthily, shall be guilty of the body 
and blood of Christ." From this we learn, that improper 
communicants are in a very awful state. These may be 
divided into two classes, the inconsiderate, and ungodly. 
Of the former class, there are multitudes among the dif- 
ferent societies of Christians. They know not the Lord, 
and discern not the operation of his hands ; hence they 
go to the Lord's table from a mere sense of duty or pro- 
priety, without considering what the sacred elements re- 
present ; and without feeling any hunger after the bread 
that endureth unto eternal life. These really profane the 
ordinance, either by not devoting it to the end of its in- 
stitution, or by perverting that end. Among these may 
probably be ranked those who believe not in the vicarious 
sufferings and death of the blessed Redeemer. They also 
receive the Lord's Supper, but they do it as a testimony 
of respect and friendly remembrance — these do not dis- 
cern the Lord's body ; do not see that this bread repre- 
sents his body which was broken for them, and his blood 
which was spilt for the remission of sins. Their cele- 
bration of this ordinance is an absolute profanation of it, 
forasmuch as they do it to another purpose than that for 
which Christ instituted it. It was a maxim among the 
rabbins, " that if the paschal lamb were slain in its own 


name, and the blood sprinkled as that of another sacrifice, 
the whole was polluted." Or, "if the offerer changed 
his intention during the solemnity, and in the purpose of 
his mind changed the sacrifice, it was polluted." See 
Mishna, Tract. Pesachim. This was doubtless true of 
the passover, and no less so of the antitype, for in Christ 
crucified, a greater than the paschal lamb was present. 
If the blessed God have instituted this solemnity to 
bring to remembrance the death of Christ as a sacrifice 
for sin, and a person, calling himself a Christian, come 
forward to the sacred feast with a creed determined against 
this scriptural, and indeed only religious, use of it, does 
he not in heart change the sacrifice ? Are not the cruci- 
fixion of the body, and the spilling of the blood, perverted 
from their grand purpose, and the awful solemnity pol- 
luted in his hands? He pretends to remember Christ 
crucified, but he commemorates the sprinkling of his 
blood, not as an atonement for sin, but " as a necessary 
consequence of Jewish malice, and of the unshaken in- 
tegrity of the founder of Christianity, who, to convince 
the world that he was sincere, and that his doctrines 
were all true, submitted to a painful and ignominious 
death !" Is not this eating and drinking unworthily ? 
Can such persons have ever carefully examined the book 
of God, relative to this matter ? If they have not, they 
are greatly to be pitied ; and greatly to be blamed if they 
have, and still refuse to acknowledge him who died for 
them — their case then is peculiarly deplorable. 

Of the ungodly, as comprehending transgressors of all 
descriptions, little need be said in proof of their un- 
worthiness. Such, coming to the table of the Lord, eat 
and drink their own condemnation, as they profess, by 
this religious act, to acknowledge the virtue of that blood 
which cleanseth from all unrighteousness, while them- 
selves are slaves of sin. Those who sin against the only 

vol. in. E 


remedy, must perish ; and it is their condemnation, that 
God had provided a ransom for their souls, but they re- 
fused to accept it, and preferred the bondage of sin to 
the liberty of the gospel. None such should ever be 
permitted to approach the table of the Lord; if they, 
through that gross ignorance which is the closely -wedded 
companion of profligacy, are intent on their own destruc- 
tion, let the ministers of God see that the ordinance be 
not profaned by the admission of such disreputable and 
iniquitous guests. In many Christian churches there is 
a deplorable want of attention to this circumstance ; 
professor and profane are often permitted to approach 
the sacred ordinance together ; in consequence of which 
the sincere followers of God are wounded, the weak 
stumbled, and the influences of the Spirit of God re- 
strained. For can it be expected that God will manifest 
his approbation, when the pale of his sanctuary is broken 
down, and the beasts of the forest introduced into the 
holy of holies ? The evils consequent on this cannot be 
calculated ; and these are justly chargeable to the account 
of those who have the management of this sacred ordi- 
nance. No man should be permitted to approach the 
table, who is not known to be a steady, consistent cha- 
racter, or a thorough penitent. If there be an indis- 
criminate admission, there must be unworthy communi- 
cants, who, instead of receiving the cup of salvation, will 
wring out the dregs of the cup of trembling; for we 
may rest assured that this ordinance is no indifferent 
thing : every soul that approaches it will either receive 
good or evil from it ; he will retire a better or a worse 
man ; he will have an increase either of the Spirit of 
Christ or of Judas ; on him the Lord will graciously 
smile, or judicially frown. 

It may be here asked, " Who then should approach 
this awful ordinance ? " I answer, Every believer in 


Christ Jesus, who is saved from his sins, has a right to 
come. Such are of the family of God ; and this bread 
belongs to the children. On this there can be but one 
opinion. 2ndly. Every genuine penitent is invited to 
come, and consequently has a right, because he needs the 
atoning blood, and by this ordinance, the blood shed for 
the remission of sins is expressively represented. " But 
I am not worthy." And who is ? There is not a saint 
upon earth, nor an archangel in heaven, who is worthy 
to sit down at the table of the Lord. " But does not the 
apostle intimate that none but the worthy should partake 
of it ?" No. He has said nothing of the kind : he 
solemnly reprehends those who eat and drink unworthily, 
and consequently approves of those who partake worthily; 
but there is an essential difference between eating and 
drinking worthily, and being worthy thus to eat and 
drink. He eats and drinks unworthily who does not 
discern the Lord's body, i. e., who does not consider that 
this bread represents his body, which in a sacrificial way 
was broken for him ; and this cup, his " blood which was 
poured out for the multitudes for the remission of sins, ' 
The genuine believer receives the Lord's Supper in 
remembrance of the atonement which he has received, 
and of the blood which he expects is to cleanse him from 
all unrighteousness ; or to keep him clean, if that change 
have already taken place in his soul. The penitent 
should receive it in reference to the atonement which he 
needs, and without which he knows he must perish ever- 
lastingly. Thus, none are excluded but the impenitent, 
the transgressor, and the profane. Believers, however 
weak, have a right to come ; and the strongest in faith 
need the grace of this ordinance. Penitents should come, 
as all the promises of pardon mentioned in the Bible are 
made to such ; and he that is athkst may take of the 
water of life freely. None is worthy of the entertain - 



ment (though all these will partake of it worthily) ; 
but it is freely provided by him wht> is the Lamb 
of God, who was slain for us, and is worthy to receive 
glory and majesty, dominion and power, for ever and 

In the same tract of Varro mentioned above, he says, 
that in a feast well constituted " convivarum numerum 
incipere opportere a Gratiarum numero, et progredi ad 
Musarum," we should begin with the Graces, and end 
with the Muses ; by which he did not merely mean, as 
Gellius says, that in a feast there should never be fewer 
than three, never more than nine ; but that every feast 
should be commenced with order, decency, and graceful- 
ness, and should terminate in the increase of social affec- 
tion, and the general happiness of the guests. All those 
who come to this gospel feast, should come in that spirit 
in which they may expect to meet and please their God ; 
have thereby their brotherly love increased, and their 
happiness in God considerably augmented. It is in re- 
ference to this point (the increase of brotherly affection 
and communion with God) that the apostle says, 1 Cor. 
v. 7, 8, to the contentious and unloving Christians at 
Corinth, among whom were dissensions and schisms, 
" Purge out the old leaven, that ye may be a new and 
unleavened lump ; for even Christ, our passover, is sacri- 
ficed for us ; therefore let us keep the feast, not with 
old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wick- 
edness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and 
truth." We have already seen with what care the ancient 
Jews purged their houses of leaven, and what pains they 
took to have themselves, their houses, and their utensils 
pure. This they did by the express command of God, 
Exod. xxiii. 18, who meant thereby, not merely their 
removing all fermented substances from their houses, 
but, as the apostle properly observes, the leaven of malice 


and wickedness from their hearts ; without which they 
could neither love one another, nor in any respect please 
God. Hence the Church of England very properly re- 
quires, in all her communicants, that they should " stead- 
fastly purpose to lead a new life, have a lively faith in 
God's mercy through Christ, and be in charity with all 
men." This is indeed purging out the old leaven, that 
the lump may be entirely new and pure. 

2. Locus electus — A proper and convenient place. 

From the beginning God has appointed a place where 
he chose to register his name ; and this was necessary, in 
the infancy of revelation, that a proper uniformity might 
be observed in the divine worship, and idolatry be pre- 
vented. And although we know that God has not con- 
fined himself to temples made by hands, yet he does 
condescend to dwell among men in such places as are 
set apart for his worship, and are consecrated to his 
name. Hence, the place of public worship must be the 
most proper for this and every sacred ordinance. Hither 
men come to wait upon their God ; and in the sanctuary 
his power and glory are often shown forth. As the 
house is the house of God, on entering under the roof 
a sacred awe, exceedingly helpful to the spirit of true 
devotion, is generally felt. Whatever we see and hear 
calls to our mind different religious acts ; and as nothing 
in the place has been devoted to common or secular uses, 
every association of ideas relative to what we see and 
hear only serves to deepen each serious impression, and 
excite the soul to the due performance of the different 
parts of divine worship. 

Those who have pleaded that every place is equally 
proper for the worship of God, because he fills the hea- 
vens and the earth, have not considered the powerful in- 
fluence of association on the mind of mau. Let a man 
only see, where he worships, a series of objects which he 


everywhere meets with in common life, and he will find 
it difficult to maintain the spirit of devotion. I grant 
that, in the beginning of the kingdom of Christ, the first 
converts were obliged to worship in private houses, and 
even in such the Holy Eucharist was celebrated, Acts ii. 
46; and in every age since that time, many excellent 
Christians have been obliged to use even the meanest 
dwellings for the purposes of religious worship : but 
where buildings consecrated solely to the service of God 
can be had, these alone should be used ; and therefore 
the house of God, whether it be church or chapel, cere- 
monially consecrated or unconsecrated, should be pre- 
ferred to all others. And here I hope I may, without 
offence, say one word, that it is not a ceremonial conse- 
cration of a place to God that can make it peculiarly 
proper for his worship ; but the setting the place apart, 
whether with or without a ceremony, for prayer, praise, 
preaching, and the administration of baptism and the 
Lord's Supper. By this means it becomes properly the 
house of God, because solely set apart for religious pur- 
poses. The lax teaching that has said, every place is 
equally proper, has brought about with thousands that 
laxity of practice which leads them to abandon every place 
of worship, and every ordinance of God. Innovation is 
endless ; and when it takes place in the worship of God, it 
seldom stops till it destroys both the form and power of re- 
ligion. The private house is ever proper for family worship, 
and for public worship also, when no place set apart for 
the purposes of religion can be had ; for in ancient times 
many of the disciples of Christ had a church in their 
houses (see Rom. xvi. 5, Philem. 2), and in these God 
manifested his power, and showed forth his glory, as he 
had done in the sanctuary : but I would simply state 
that such dwellings should not be preferred, when, by 
order of the state, or the consent of any religious people 


a place is set apart for the purposes of divine worship. 
Thus much may suffice concerning the locus electus of 
Varro, as far as it can be applied for the illustration of 
the present subject. 

3. Tempus lectum—A suitable time. 

How often in the year, and at what time of the day, 
the Eucharist should be celebrated, are questions to 
which considerable importance has been attached. How 
often the first Christians received the holy sacrament, 
cannot be exactly ascertained. In Acts ii. 42 it is said, 
that " they continued steadfastly in the apostle's doc- 
trine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread ;" and 
in ver. 46, " they continued daily in breaking bread 
from house to house." We have already seen that the 
forty-second verse probably refers to the Eucharist : of 
the latter, this is not so obvious. However, some have 
supposed from this passage, that the holy sacrament was 
celebrated every day in one or other of the Christians' 
houses, and that therefore the Eucharist was the daily 
bread of the first Christians. And there is some reason 
to think that this was the case at a very early period of 
the Christian church ; for Eusebius, Demonstr. Evangel., 
lib. i., says they commemorated the body and blood of 
Christ ootjiupai, daily. And it is very likely that many 
understood our Lord's command in so general a sense, 
that, whenever they brake bread, they did it in a sacra- 
mental remembrance of him. If this were really the 
case, and it is not improbable, it did not long continue 
so, as it soon became a set ordinance, and was not asso- 
ciated with any other meal ; though, at a very early 
period, a love-feast often preceded it. From Justin 
Martyr and others we learn that it was celebrated at 
the conclusion of public worship, sometimes in the morn- 
ing, and sometimes in the evening ; and both Pliny and 
Tertullian speak of its being celebrated before day-light. 


So that it does not appear that any particular part of the 
day was, at any time, deemed exclusively proper. 

As the Lord's-day is devoted to public worship, that 
day, above all others, must be the most proper for the 
celebration of this ordinance ; for the heart is then better 
prepared to wait on God without distraction, worldly 
business being then laid aside; and consequently, the 
mind is more free to enter into a consideration of such 
important mysteries. And as the Lord's-day is the 
most proper among the days, so the morning of that day 
is the most favourable time on which to celebrate this 
sacred ordinance. Towards the close of the day a man 
may be comparatively indisposed towards a profitable 
commemoration of the passion of our Lord, by the fatigue 
attendant on the different religious duties performed 
during its course ; which, exhausting the animal powers, 
renders the mind incapable of such sublime and pathetic 
acts of devotion as certainly belong to a due performance 
of the last command of our blessed Lord. But no rule 
can be given in this case, which will not admit of excep- 
tions ; and it must be left to those whose business it is 
to conduct the worship of God, to determine, in several 
cases, what is the most proper time, as well as which is 
the most proper place. 

With respect to the frequency of celebrating this di- 
vine ordinance, it may be observed, in general, that a 
medium between seldom and frequently should prevail. 
Some have received it daily, others weekly, some onco 
in the month, others once per quarter, and some only 
once in the year. There is surely a proper medium be- 
tween the first and last of these extremes. Few are so 
spiritually minded as to be able to discern the Lord's 
body in a daily, or even weekly, use of the sacrament. 
Those who receive it only once in the year cannot suf- 
ficiently feel the weight of the divine command. The 


intervals between the times of celebration are so long, 
that it is almost impossible to keep up the commemora- 
tion of the great facts shadowed forth by this ordinance. 
On the other hand, those who take it daily, or once in 
the week, become too much familiarized with it, pro- 
perly to respect its nature and design. I believe it will 
be found, that those who are thus frequently at the Lord's 
Supper do not in general excel in deep and serious god- 
liness. Were I permitted to advise in this case, I would 
say, let every proper communicant receive the holy sa- 
crament once every month. Once a year, or once in the 
quarter, is too seldom ; once a day, or once in the week, 
is too frequent : once in the month, or once in six weeks, 
is the proper mean. 

But what can we think of those who call themselves 
Christians, and very seldom or never are found at the 
Lord's table ? They are either despisers or neglecters of 
the words and command of their dying Lord, and are un- 
worthy of the benefits resulting from a due observance 
of this divine ordinance. If the omission of a prescribed 
duty be a sin against God (and who dares deny it ?), then 
these are sinners against their own souls. Many, com- 
paratively sincere, are detained in the back-ground of 
Christian experience on this very account; and many 
whole churches labour under the divine displeasure, be- 
cause of the general neglect of this ordinance among 
their members. Every soul, who wishes not to abjure 
his right to the benefits of Christ's passion and death, 
should make it a point with God and his conscience to 
partake of this ordinance, if not twelve times, at least 
four or six times in the year ; and continue thus to 
show forth the Lord's death till he come. 

"We have already seen that the Eucharist succeeded to 
the passover, and have proved that the passover was 
intended to typify and point out this new covenant rite : 



the same Authority that made it the bounden duty of 
every Israelite to keep the passover, has made it the 
duty of every Christian to receive the sacrament of the 
Lord's Supper. Who has not read (Numb. ix. 13), 
" The man that is clean, and is not on a journey, and 
forbeareth to keep the passover, even the same shall be 
cut off from the people : because he brought not the 
offering of the Lord in his appointed season, that man 
shall bear his sin." Can anything be more solemn than 
this ? The paschal lamb was an expiatory victim ; he 
who offered it to God by faith was received into the di- 
vine favour, and had his sins remitted in virtue of that 
atonement represented by the paschal lamb. He who did 
not keep the passover bore his own sin ; he offered no sa- 
crifice, therefore his sins were not remitted. He who does 
not receive the holy sacrament, in reference to the atone- 
ment made by the passion and death of Christ, shall also 
bear his own sin. Let no soul trifle here : if a man be- 
lieve that the due observance of this ordinance is divinely 
authorized, he cannot refrain from its celebration, and be 

To multiply arguments in reference to the same sub- 
ject, would, I apprehend, be absolutely needless. All 
who truly fear God, and whose minds are not incurably 
warped by their peculiar creed, will feel it their highest 
duty and interest to fulfil every command of Christ : and 
will particularly rejoice in the opportunity, as often as it 
shall occur, of eating of this bread, and drinking of this 
cup, in remembrance that Christ Jesus died for them. 

4. Apparatus non neglectus — Proper cheer and ac- 

After what has been said in order to prove, that the 
sacrament of the Lord's Supper represents a feast upon 
a sacrifice ; and that this sacrifice is no less than the 
body of our Lord Jesus Christ, which has been broken 


for us, and the blood of the new covenant sacrifice which 
has been shed for us; there is no need to attempt to 
prove, that the provision which God has made for the 
entertainment of his guests is of the most exalted and 
excellent kind ; and that every person may think him- 
self highly favoured indeed, who, with proper disposi- 
tions, is permitted to sit down at the table of the Lord. 
In order, therefore, that each may feel himself thus ho- 
noured and privileged, it is of vast importance that the 
symbols of this sacrifice speak, as much as possible, to 
the heart, through the medium of the senses. Hence, 
the bread used should be the purest and best that can 
possibly be procured, and the wine should be of the same 
quality ; that, as far as possible, the eye, the taste, and 
the smell may be pleasingly gratified. What a most un- 
favourable impression must stale or bitter bread, acid or 
vapid wine, make upon the mind ! Are these fit sym- 
bols of this most precious sacrifice ? Would we have at 
our own tables, even on ordinary times, such abomina- 
ble aliments as those sometimes laid on the Lord's table ? 
Churchwardens, and superintendents of this ordinance 
in general, should take good heed, that not only every- 
thing be done decently and in order, but that the ele- 
ments be of the most excellent kind. If a man's senses 
be either insulted or tortured by what is recommended 
to him as a mean of salvation, is it likely that his mind 
will so co-operate with the ordinance as to derive spi- 
ritual good from it ? Certainly not. In such a case, he 
may attend the ordinance as a duty, and take up the 
performance as a cross; but it will be impossible for 
him to derive real benefit from it. Besides, a sensible, 
conscientious man must be disgusted with the slovenly 
and criminally-negligent manner in which this sacred 
ordinance is celebrated. The passover, it is true, was to 
be eaten by the Jew s with bitter herbs, in remembrance 


of their former bondage ; but the sacrament of the Lord's 
Supper is a commemoration of the most glorious and 
auspicious event that ever took place since God laid the 
foundation of the universe. It is, in a word, a synopsis, 
or general view, of all that is called the glad tidings of 
salvation, through the incarnation, passion, death, resur- 
rection, ascension, and intercession of Jesus Christ, the 
world's Saviour, and the sinner's Friend. In the primi- 
tive church, it was always esteemed a feast, and never 
accompanied with any act of mortification. Those who 
think this circumstance is unworthy of serious regard, 
show thereby how little they know of human nature ; 
and how apt some are to aifect to be wise above what is 
written, and to fancy themselves above that which is, in 
reality, above them. Let, therefore, not only the ele- 
ments, but the whole apparatus, and even the mode of 
administering, be such as shall meet and please all the 
senses, and, through their medium, affect and edify the 
soul. With such helps, under the influence of the 
blessed Spirit, devotion must be raised, the flame of pure 
gratitude kindled, the hungry soul fed, and believers 
built up on their most holy faith. 

But has not every private Christian a right to admi- 
nister this sacred ordinance ? In a pamphlet not long 
ago published, a good mistaken man says, " Any sincere 
Christian has a right to administer the Lord's Supper to 
himself or to others." Where is this written in the an- 
nals of the church of Christ? Nowhere. Nor was 
there ever any decent, regular sect of Christians that 
acted so. The accredited minister, the man who was 
set apart according to the custom of his community, 
was the only person who was ever conceived to have a 
right to administer this ordinance; as he alone could 
judge of the persons who were proper to be admitted. 
Where private persons have assumed this important 


function, they Lave brought the ordinance of God into 
contempt ; and they, and their deluded partisans, have 
generally ended in confusion and apostasy. Wherever 
there is a religious people, who have their regular accre- 
dited ministers, they, and they only, should administer 
this ordinance. No private individual, no man who has 
not authority from some particular branch of the church 
of God, through the proper officers whose business it is 
to watch over and feed the flock of Christ, should dare 
to take upon himself such an awful and responsible func- 
tion. The self-appointed man in this ordinance is an 
intruder into the sacred fold ; is the parent of indecency 
and disorder ; and will have a solemn account to render 
to God for disturbing the peace of a Christian society, 
and leading the simple astray from the paths of their 
companions. We may safely state that nothing like this 
was ever allowed or practised in the primitive church ; 
and the doctrine of the pamphlet on this point, to which 
I have already referred, is a doctrine replete with mis- 
chief, and totally unsupported by God's word, or the 
practice of the purest ages of Christianity. 

But the inquiry is of great importance, " Who are 
they who should administer this sacred ordinance ?" I 
answer, — every minister of Jesus Christ ; for every man 
who is called to preach the gospel is called to feed the 
flock of God. If a man who professes to preach the 
gospel can prove that he has no authority to administer the 
sacrament of the Lord's Supper, I can prove to him that 
he has no authority to preach ; for how can he bear proper 
testimony to the atonement, who cannot legitimately 
use the sacred symbols which best represent it ? But 
this is both an idle and foolish conceit ; for he who is 
called to preach the gospel, is called to administer all 
the ordinances of the church of Christ. But it has 
been further asked, " May not any truly Christian man 


or woman .deliver the sacred elements to others after 
consecration ?" I answer, The ministers of the gospel, 
alone, should dispense the symbols of the body and blood 
of Christ ; every truly religious person will feel it much 
more edifying to receive this bread and wine from the 
hands of his pastor than from any member of the church, 
how holy soever he may be. The minister alone con- 
secrated the elements in all periods of the Christian 
church, though sometimes the deacons delivered them to 
the people : but even this was far from being a common 
case ; for, in general, the minister not only consecrated, 
but delivered the elements to each communicant. 

I shall not dispute here about the manner in which a 
man may be appointed to officiate in any branch of the 
church of God. The pure church of Christ exists ex- 
clusively nowhere. It lives in its universality in the 
various congregations and societies which profess the 
gospel of the Son of God ; therefore, I contend not here 
for this or that mode of ordination. But I contend that 
the man alone who is appointed to minister in holy things 
according to the regular usages of that church of God 
to which he belongs, has a right to attempt to preach 
God's holy word, and to administer his sacraments. 

" Let all things," says the apostle, " be done decently 
and in order ;" this command should be felt in its most 
extensive sense in everything relative to this ordinance. 
To cut off all occasion of offence, and to make every 
part of the ordinance edifying and salutary, every min- 
ister should take care that his whole deportment be 
grave, and all his words solemn and impressive ; not 
only the sacred elements should be of the purest and 
best quality, but also the holy vessels, of whatever metal, 
perfectly clean, and decently arranged on the table. The 
communicants, in receiving the bread and wine, should 
not be hurried, so as to endanger their dropping the one 


or spilling the other, as accidents of this kind have been 
of dreadful consequence to some weak minds. The 
pieces of bread should be of a convenient size, not too 
small (which is frequently the case), as it is then im- 
possible to take them readily out of the hands of the 
minister. No communicant should receive with a glove 
on ; this is indecent, not to say irreverent. Perhaps the 
best way of receiving the bread is to open the hand, and 
let the minister lay it upon the palm, whence it may be 
taken by the communicant with readiness and ease. 

As to the posture in which it is received, little need 
be said, as the subject is of no great importance. Our 
Lord and his disciples certainly took it in a reclining 
posture, as this was the Jewish custom at meals; and 
where there are only ten or twelve communicants, the 
^reclining mode, though contrary to the custom of all 
western countries, may be literally and innocently copied ; 
but where there are from 500 to 1000 communicants, this 
would be impracticable. There is no evidence in the 
sacred text that they stood with their staves in their 
hands, and their loins girded, as the ancient Israelites 
did at their first celebration of the passover ; the reverse 
seems indicated in the accounts given by the evangelists, 
as they particularly assert that he sat down or reclined, 
avaKtiTo, with his disciples. Some choose to sit, as at 
their ordinary meals : when this is a custom among a 
whole religious sect, no man is authorized to blame it ; 
provided it can be done in a proper spirit of devotion, it 
may be as profitably received in that as in any other way. 
In the primitive church it was generally received stand- 
ing, and always so on the Lord's-day, and in the interim 
between Easter and Whitsuntide, as on those times it 
was deemed unlawful to kneel in any part of divine 
worship. In the church of Rome, and in the church ot 
England, all the communicants receive kneeling: the 



former kneel, because they worship the consecrated wafer ; 
the latter, who reject this sentiment with abhorrence, ne- 
vertheless kneel, the better to express submission to the 
divine authority, and a deep sense of their unworthiness. 
The posture itself of kneeling, it must be confessed, is 
well calculated to excite and impress such sentiments ; 
and perhaps, upon the whole, is preferable to all others. 
It is, however, a matter of comparatively small moment, 
and should never be the cause of dissension among re- 
ligious people ; only, in every church and congregation, 
for the sake of order and uniformity, all should sit, or 
all should kneel. Let the former consider that they sit 
not at a common meal ; and let the latter reflect that 
they are bowed before that God who searches the heart. 
The words used in consecration should, undoubtedly, be 
taken from the Sacred Scriptures ; and the form used in 
the Church of England is, beyond all controversy, the 
best of its kind. Nothing can be more devout, more 
solemn, more impressive than this. The passages of 
Scripture suitable to the occasion are here well chosen, 
and are connected with remarks, observations, petitions, 
and ejaculations, that at once breathe the most pure and 
sublime spirit of devotion. No truly godly man can 
use this form without deriving the highest spiritual ad- 
vantages from it. This is my opinion, but I leave others 
to follow their peculiar customs. 

From the great respect that was paid to this ordi- 
nance in ancient times, it is sufficiently evident that un- 
common influences of the Spirit of God accompanied 
the celebration of it. Hence those epithets applied to 
it by St. Ignatius, in his Epistle to the Ephesians, " Bre- 
thren, stand fast in the faith of Jesus Christ, in his 

passion and resurrection; breaking that one bread 
which is the medicine of immortality, the antidote against 
death, and the means of living in God by Christ Jesus ; 


the medicament that expels all evil." In those times, 
the communicants discerned the Lord's body ; they per- 
ceived that it represented the sacrifice which was offered 
for them, and pointed out the Lamb, newly slain, before 
the throne ; they partook of it, therefore, with strong 
faith in the atoning efficacy of the death of Christ, 
which they had thus represented, at once, both to the 
eyes of their body and those of their mind; and the 
natural consequence was, that the glory of God filled 
the place where they sat, and the souls that worshipped 
in it. Those were the " days of the Son of Man," and 
might be again amply realized, were the Holy Eucharist 
rightly administered and scripturally received. 

In the apparatus of this feast a contribution for the 
support of the poor should never be neglected. This 
was a custom religiously observed from the very remotest 
antiquity of the Christian era. This is the only way we 
have of giving a substantial form to our gratitude, and 
rendering it palpable. The poor, and especially the pious 
poor, are the proper representatives of him, who, " though 
he was rich, yet for our sakes became poor, that we, 
through his poverty, might be rich." He, then, who hath 
pity on the poor, lendeth to the Lord. Let no man ap- 
pear at this ordinance empty-handed ; and let every man 
give as God has prospered him. 

It might be deemed necessary by some, that, at the 
close of such a discourse, proper directions should be 
given how to receive profitably, and how to behave before 
and after communicating. But this is so generally well 
provided for in the sermons commonly preached on such 
occasions, and by books of devotion, that it may well be 
dispensed with here. Besides, much may be collected 
from the preceding pages themselves, the grand object of 
which is to teach men how to discern the Lord's body in 


this holy institution ; and they that do so cannot use it 

IV It may be just necessary to state a few reasons 
for frequenting the table of the Lord, and profiting by 
this ordinance, which either have not been previously 
mentioned, or not in a manner sufficiently pointed to 
insure their effect. 

1. Jesus Christ has commanded his disciples to do this 
in remembrance of him ; and, were there no other reason, 
this certainly must be deemed sufficient by all those who 
respect his authority as their teacher and judge. " He 
who breaks one of the least of his commandments (and 
certainly this is not one of the least of them), and 
teaches others (either by precept or example) so to do, 
shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven." What 
an awful reproof must this be to those who either sys- 
tematically reject, or habitually neglect, this holy ordi- 
nance ! 

2. As the oft-repeated sacrifices in the Jewish church, 
and particularly the passover, were intended to point out 
the Son of God till he came ; so, it appears, our blessed 
Lord designed that the Eucharist should be a principal 
mean of keeping in remembrance his passion and death ; 
and thus show forth him who has died for our offences, 
as the others did him who, in the fulness of time, 
should die. 

I believe it will be generally found, that those who 
habitually neglect this ordinance seldom attach much 
consequence to the doctrine of the atonement, and those 
kindred doctrines essentially connected with it. 

Though I am far from supposing that the Holy Eucharist 
is itself a sacrifice, which is a most gross error in the 
Romish church ; yet I am as fully convinced that it can 


never be scripturally and effectually celebrated by any 
but those who consider it as representing a sacrifice, 
even that of the life of our blessed Lord, the only avail- 
able sacrifice for sin ; and that the Eucharist is the only 
ordinance, instituted by divine appointment among men, 
in which anything of the ancient sacrificial forms yet 
remains ; and that this, in its form, and in the manner 
of its administration, partakes so much of the ancient 
expiatory offerings, literally considered, and so much of 
the spirit and design of those offerings, as ever to render 
it the most lively exhibition both of the sign and the 
thing signified ; and consequently, a rite the most wisely 
calculated to show forth the death of the Son of God, 
till he shall come to judge the quick and the dead. 

3. As it is the duty of every Christian to receive the 
Holy Eucharist, so it is the duty of every Christian min- 
ister to see that the people of God neither neglect nor 
lose sight of this ordinance. They should not only 
strongly inculcate the duty of frequently communicating, 
but they should lead them to those green pastures, and 
deliver to them the sacred symbols. How can any min- 
isters answer it to God, who preach from year to year 
without once administering the Lord's Supper ? This is 
a sinful innovation of modern times ; the ancient church 
of God knew nothing of this, nor of the no less flagrant 
absurdity of obliging genuine Christian converts to go to 
strange communions to receive the symbols of their 
Lord's sacrifice, refusing, either through voluntary hu- 
mility, or a base man-pleasing disposition, to administer 
to those who have been gathered out of the corruption 
that is in the world, an ordinance by which they may be 
most blessedly built up on their most holy faith. How 
such ministers can answer for this to God, I cannot 
tell ; but to such, " the hungry sheep look up, and are 
not fed !" 


4. But there is another reason why this duty should 
be considered as imperiously binding on every Christian 
soul. It is a standing and inexpugnable proof of the 
authenticity of the Christian religion. An able writer 
of our own country has observed, that a matter of fact, 
however remote, is rendered incontestable by the follow- 
ing criteria : " 1, That the matter of fact be such as 
men s senses, their eyes and ears, may be judges of. 2, 
That it be done publicly. 3, That both public monu- 
ments be kept up in memory of it, and some outward 
actions be performed. 4, That such monuments, and 
such actions or observances, be instituted and do com- 
mence from the time that the matter of fact was done." 
Now all these criteria, he demonstrates, concur in rela- 
tion to the matters of fact recorded of Moses and of 
Christ. The miracles of our Lord were done publicly, 
and in the face of the world. Three thousand souls at 
one time, and five thousand at another, were converted 
to Christianity on the evidence of these facts. Baptism 
and the Lord's Supper were instituted as perpetual me- 
morials of these things at the very time in which they 
were said to have been done ; and these have been ob- 
served in the whole Christian world from that time until 
now. Therefore, the administration of these sacraments 
is an incontestable proof of the authenticity of the Chris- 
tian religion. See Leslie's Easy Method with the Deists. 

It is not, therefore, merely for the purpose of calling 
to remembrance the death of our blessed Lord for the 
increase and confirmation of our faith — it is not merely 
that the church of Christ should have an additional 
mean, whereby God might communicate the choicest 
influences of his giace and Spirit to the souls of the 
faithful, that Christians should conscientiously observe, 
and devoutly frequent, the sacrament of the Lord's 
Supper ; but they should continue carefully to observe it, 


as a public, far-speaking, and irrefragable proof of the 
divine authenticity of our holy religion. Those, there- 
fore, who neglect this ordinance, not only sin against the 
commandment of Christ, neglect that mean by which 
their souls might receive much comfort and edification, 
but, as far as in them lies, weaken those evidences of the 
religion they profess to believe, which have been one 
great cause, under God, of its triumphing over all the 
persecution and contradiction of the successive ages of 
infidelity, from its establishment to the present hour. 
Had all the followers of Christ treated this divine ordi- 
nance as a few have done, pretending that it is to be 
spiritually understood (from a complete misapplication 
of John vi. 63), and that no rite or form should be ob- 
served in commemoration of it, where had been one of 
the most convincing evidences of Christianity this day ? 
What a master-piece was it in the economy of divine 
providence, that a teaching like this was not permitted 
to spring up in the infancy of Christianity, nor till 
sixteen hundred years after its establishment, by which 
time its grand facts had been rendered incontrovertible ! 
Such is the wisdom of God, and such his watchful care 
over his church ! Sincerely I thank God that this sen- 
timent has had but a very limited spread, and never can 
be general while the letter and spirit of Christianity 
remain in the world. 

The discourse which our Lord held with the Jews, 
John vi. 30—63, concerning the manna which their 
fathers ate in the wilderness, and which he intimates re- 
presented himself, has been mistaken by several for a dis- 
course on the holy sacrament. The chronology of the 
Gospels sufficiently proves that our Lord spake these 
words in one of the synagogues of Capernaum, at least 
twelve months before the institution of the Eucharist. 


Nor has it.any reference whatever to that ordinance. No 
man has ever yet proved the contrary. 

In this place a question of very great importance should 
be considered, " Is the ungodliness of the minister any 
prejudice to the ordinance itself, or to the devout com- 
municant ?" I answer, 1, None who is ungodly should 
ever be permitted to minister in holy things, on any pre- 
tence whatever; and in this ordinance, in particular, no 
unhallowed hand should ever be seen. 2, As the bene- 
fit to be derived from the Eucharist depends entirely on 
the presence and blessing of God, it cannot be reason- 
ably expected that he will work through the instrumen- 
tality of the profligate or the profane. Many have idled 
away their time in endeavouring to prove, that the un- 
godliness of the minister is no prejudice to the worthy 
communicant; but God has disproved this by ten thousand 
instances, in which he has in a general way withheld 
his divine influence, because of the wickedness or worth- 
lessness of him who ministered, whether bishop, priest, 
minister, or preacher. God has always required, and 
ever will require, that those who minister in holy things 
shall have upright hearts and clean hands. Those who 
are of a different character bring the ordinance of 
God into contempt, and are intruders into the fold of 

" But supposing a man has not the opportunity of re- 
ceiving the Eucharist from the hands of a holy man, 
should he not receive it at all ?" I answer, I hope it will 
seldom be found difficult to meet with this ordinance in 
the most unexceptionable way ; but should such a case 
occur, that it must be either received from an improper 
person, or not received at all, I would then advise, Re- 
ceive it by all means ; as you will thereby bear a testi- 
mony to the truth of the new covenant, and do what in 


you lies to fulfil the command of Christ : if, therefore, it 
be impossible for you to get this ordinance in its purity 
and properly administered, then take it as you can ; and 
God, who knows the circumstances of the case, will not 
withhold from you a measure of the divine influence. 
But this can be no excuse for those who, through a blind 
or bigoted attachment to a particular place or form, 
choose rather to communicate with the profane, than re- 
ceive the Eucharist, according to the pure institution of 
Jesus Christ, from the most unblemished hands, and in 
company with saints of the first character ! Of all super- 
stitions, this is the most egregious and culpable. It is 
an abomination that maketh desolate, and has been often 
found in the holy place. Profanity and sin will certainly 
prevent the Divine Spirit from realizing the sign in the 
souls of worthless ministers and sinful communicants ; 
but the want of episcopal or presbyterial ordination in the 
person, or consecration in the place, can never prevent 
Him who is not confined to temples made by hands, and 
who sends by whom he will send, from pouring out his 
Spirit upon those who call faithfully upon his name, and 
who go to meet him in his appointed ways. 

But even serious Christians may deprive themselves of 
the due benefit of the Eucharist by giving way to hurry 
and precipitation. Scarcely anything is more unbecom- 
ing than to see the majority of communicants, as soon as 
they have received, posting out of the church or chapel, 
so that at the conclusion of the ordinance very few are 
found to join together in a general thanksgiving to God 
for the benefits conferred by the passion and death of 
Christ, by means of this blessed ordinance. All the 
communicants, unless absolute necessity oblige them 
to depart, should remain till the whole service is con- 
cluded, that the thanksgiving of many may, in one 


general acclamation, redound to the glory of God and the 

In many congregations, where the communicants are 
very numerous, this general defection is produced by the 
tedious and insufferable delay occasioned through want 
of proper assistants. I have often seen six hundred, and 
sometimes one thousand communicants and upwards, 
waiting to be served by one minister ! Masters and heads 
of families are obliged to return to their charge ; mother? 
are constrained to hurry home to their children, and ser- 
vants to minister to their respective families. And who 
in this case could blame them ? Religion was never in- 
tended to break in on family obligations, nor to supersede 
domestic duties. 

In all large congregations, there should be at least 
three ministers, that hurry may be prevented, and the 
ordinance concluded in such a reasonable portion of time 
that no person may be obliged to leave the house of God 
before the congregation is regularly dismissed. Those 
who have no such calls, and indulge themselves in the 
habit of hurrying away as soon as they have received the 
sacred elements, must answer to God for an act that not 
only betrays their great want of serious godliness ; but 
borders, I had almost said, on profanity and irreligion. 
Judas, of all the disciples of our Lord, went out before 
the Holy Supper was concluded ! Reader, wilt thou go 
and do likewise ? God forbid ! 



As it has been strongly asserted that the British 
churches believed the doctrine of Transubstantiation till 
the time of the Reformation, and that the Reformation 
was in that case a most manifest innovation on the an- 
cient doctrine ; I shall beg leave to add here a few ex- 
tracts from a Saxon homily, and iElfric's epistles, writ- 
ten in Saxon about A. D. 936, to Wulfsine, Bishop of 
Sherburne. Throughout the whole of this homily, the 
bread and wine are stated to be understood jaj-tlice, 
ghostly, spiritually, as the body and blood of Christ. 
Quoting 1 Cor. x. 3, 4 : " They did all eat the same 
spiritual meat, and did all drink the same spiritual 
drink," the writer says, " Neither was that stone then 
from which the water ran, bodely Christ, ac he jeracno'ee 
Cpirr, but it signified Christ, because that heavenly 
meat that fed them forty years, and that water which 
from the stone did flow, lisepoe jetacnunje Crur-eer 1 hcha- 
nian D hip blo'eer, had signification of Christes bodye and 
his lloude, that nowe be offered daylye in Godes churche : 
it was the same which we now offer na hchamlice ac 
sardice, not bodely but ghostly. Moyses and Aaron saw 
that the heavenly meat was visible and corruptible ; 
ac hi unbeppW&on saj-tliee be fcain jerepenhcum <5n)je 
D lire jarthce Sij'con, and they understood it spiritually 
and received it spiritually. The Saviour saith, ' He that 
eateth my fleshe and drinketh my blood hath everlasting 
lyfe ;' and he bad them eat, not that body which he 
was going about with, nor that blood to drink which 
he shed for us ; ac hi nicerroe mit> {jam poribe f halite 
Impel, but he meant by that word the holy Eucharist, Ze 
japthce ip hir lichama D In j- blob, which spiritually is, 
his body and his blood. 



" In the old law, faithful men offered to God divers 
sacrifices that had for signification (topeapfce ;e racnunje, 
towards betokening) of Christes body; certainly this 
hurel, Eucharist, which we do now hallow at God's altar, 
ir semynb Cpirter hchaman, is a renvmbrance of Christ's 
body, which he offered for us : D hip bloeep <5e he pop up 
asear, and of his blood which he shed for us." 

That our Saxon ancestors, being before the time of tho 
Norman Conquest, communicated in both kinds, is evi- 
dent from the direction given in this paschal sermon, to 
" mingle water with the wine which shall be for the holy 
Eucharist ; because the water signifieth the people, and 
the wine, Christ's blood : D ponSi ne j-ceal napon. buron 
oppum beon jeopppo'ce set Seepe haljan msefpan ; and 
therefore shall neither the one without the other be offered at 
the holy mass, that Christ may be with us, and we with 

Writing to Wulfstane, Archbishop of York, jElfric 
says : " The Lord which hallowed the Eucharist before 
his sufferings, saith that the bread was his own body, and 
that the wine was truly his blood, and yet that lively 
bread is not bodily so notwithstanding ; not the selfsame 
body that Christ suffered in : nor that holy wine is the 
Saviour's blood which was shed for us on hchamlican 
Sinje ac on saprlicum ansyte, in bodily thing, or meaning, 
but in spiritual understanding. The apostle hath said, 
that they all did eat the same spiritual meat, and they 
all drank the same spiritual drink. Ne cpsep he na licham- 
lice, ac sartlice, he saith not bodily, but spiritually. And 
Christ was not yet born, nor his blood shed, when the 
people of Israel ate that meat and drank of that stone : 
and the stone was not bodily Christ, though he so said. 
It was the same mystery in the old law, and they did 
spiritually signify that spiritual Eucharist of our Saviour's 
body, which we consecrate now." 


The preceding extracts are taken from a very rare 
work, entitled, "A Testimonie of Antiquitie, showing 
the auncient fayth in the Church of England, touching 
the Sacrament of the body and bloude of the Lorde here 
publikely preached, and also receaved in the Saxons 
tyme, above 600 yeares agoe. Jmprinted at London by 
Iohn Day," 18mo. without date ; but from other circum- 
stances, we know that it was printed in 1567- At 
the conclusion of the Sermon is the following attesta- 
tion, signed by Matthew Parker, Archbishop of Canter- 
bury ; Thomas, Archbishop of York ; and thirteen other 

" As the writynges of the fathers euen of the first age 
of the Cliurehe bee not thought on all partes so perfect, 
that whatsoeuer thyng hath beene of the spoken ought 
to be receaued without all exeeptio (which honour truelye 
them selues both knewe & also haue confessed to be 
onely due to the most holy & tryed word of God :) So in 
this Sermon here published some thynges be spoken not 
consonant to sounde doctrine ; but rather to such corrup- 
tion of greate ignoraunce and superstition, as hath taken 
roote in the church of log time, being ouermuch cum- 
bered with monckery. But all these things that be thus 
of some reprehensio be as it wer but by the way touched : 
the full and whole discourse of all the former part of 
the Sermo, & almost of the whole Sermon is about the 
vnderstanding of the Sacramentall bread and wine howe 
it is the bodye and bloude of Christ our Sauiour, by which 
is reuealed & made knowen, what hath beene the com- 
mon taught doctrine of the church of England on this 
behalfe many hundreth yeares agoe, contrarye vnto the 
vnaduised writyng of some nowe a dayes. Nowe that 
thys foresayd Saxon Homely with the other testimonies 
before alleadged, doe fullye agree to the olde auncient 
bookes (whereof some bee written in the olde Saxon, and 

f 2 


some in |he Lattyne) from whence they are taken ; these 
here vnder written vpon diligent perusing, & comparing 
the same haue found by conference, that they are truelye 
put forth in print without any adding, or withdrawing 
any thyng for the more faithful reporting of the same ; 
and therefore for the better credite hereof haue subscribed 
their names. 

Matthewe Archbyshop of Canterburye. 

Thomas Archbyshop of Yorke. 

Edmunde By shop of London. 

lames Byshop of Durham. 

Robert Byshop of Winchester. 

William Bishop of Chichester. 

Iohn Byshop of Hereford. 

Richard Byshop of Elye. 

Edwine Byshop of Worceter. 

Nicholas Bysbop of Lincolne. 

Richard Byshop of S. Dauys. 

Thomas Bishop of Couentry and Lichfield. 

Iohn Bishop of Norwiche. 

Iohn Bishop of Carlyll. 

Nicholas Bishop of Bangor. 

With diuers other personages of honour and credite sub- 
scribyng their names, the recorde whereof remaines in 
the hands of the moste reuerend father Matthewe Arch- 
bishop of Canterbury." 

The above Testimony is of considerable consequence 
in the controversy about the Eucharist, as far as the 
Protestant church in these kingdoms is concerned. The 
pure evangelical doctrine of the Church of England rela- 
tive to the sacrament of the Lord's Supper, far from 
being only Protestant, is hereby shown to have been the 
doctrine that was held by the British churches nearly 


900 years ago ; 600 years before the Reformation took 
place, which, in fact, only restored the ancient doctrine 
that had been corrupted by popery. 

When, therefore, the papists insultingly asked our 
ancestors, "Where was your doctrine before Luther?" 
they might not only have answered, "In the Bible, 
where yours never was;" but might also have added, 
"In our ancient church and service-books, still extant 
in our original mother tongue ; and which continue to 
exist as a monument of your new-fangled doctrine, and 
corruption of the truth of God." 



Acts xvi. 30. 
" What must I do to be saved V 


Tbe writer of this discourse seeks truth of every de- 
scription, especially religious truth. For more* than 

* This sermon had been before the public fifteen years when this 
was written. It first bore date " Millbrook, Dec. 25, 1815 ;" and 
then the words in the " Advertisement" were " For nearly half a 
century." The original title of the sermon was, " The Doctrine 
of Salvation by Faith ; or, An Answer to the important Question, 
What must I do to be saved 1 ! By Adam Clarke:" with the fol- 
lowing mottos : — 

" Father, thy word is past ; man shall find grace. 
And shall grace not find means 1 — 
Atonement for himself, or offering meet, 
Indebted and undone, he none can bring. 
Behold me then ; me for him, life for life, 
I offer." 

Paradise Lost, b. iii., 1. 227. 

Mia iUTiv i) oSoq SiKaiovaa, r\ dta tti<ttcw£. 

It was published in London, by Butterworth and Son.— Editok. 


half a century he has been in pursuit of it; and has 
neglected no means to attain it. He has watched with 
the ancients ; has laboured with the moderns ; and has 
searched the Scriptures, and earnestly prayed for the 
succours of the Spirit of wisdom, that he might know 
the truth, acknowledge it, and spread it abroad according 
to the power with which the Father of lights might 
endue him. He has acquainted himself with religious 
systems in general ; he has examined with diligence, 
and he hopes he may say with conscientious candour, 
creeds and catechisms, confessions of faith and bodies 
of divinity, in great numbers. All these have professed 
to refer him to the Bible ; and from them all he turned 
to his Bible : he has read it carefully, with intense study 
and fervent prayer. As far as it was possible, he has 
divested himself of all the prejudices he might have 
received from preconceived opinions ; and that he might 
not be warped by the common phraseology of religion, 
and theological expressions in general use, he has exa- 
mined the originals of the sacred books ; and, for his 
own use and satisfaction, translated every word of the 
Old and New Testaments ; and compared the originals 
with all the ancient and modern Versions which were 
within his reach : not neglecting the commentaries of 
the ancient Fathers, nor those of learned and pious men 
in modern times. He could do no more : and after all 
this labour, what has he found ? Should he answer, " I 
have found the TRUTH," every man, whose religious 
creed might differ from his, would pronounce him arro- 
gant ; while believing in the same moment that his own 
was the truth, though he had not taL.ii the hundredth 
part of the trouble to form it, which the writer of this 
discourse has done to form that which he has published 
to the world. To save all such persons from the pain of 
harsh judgment, and to show others that this trumpet 


gives no indeterminate nor uncertain sound ; he says he 
has found the truth, as far as the satisfaction of his own 
mind and his personal salvation are concerned. If there 
he still many branches of truth, relating to God and the 
eternal world, which he has not discovered, it is because 
they either cannot be known in this state of being, or 
his understanding cannot comprehend them. 

How a man may obtain and retain the favour of his 
Maker — how a sinner may be reconciled to his God, and 
be saved from his sins — have appeared to him questions 
of the highest importance, and he has attempted their 
discussion in the following pages. He has not pretended 
to examine systems of religion in detail, but merely the 
plans of what may be called initiatory salvation. On the 
awfully important subject of the question in the text, he 
lays the result of his own researches and convictions 
before his readers. It is true that they will all be found 
to issue in what is commonly called orthodoxy. But he 
begs leave to say that they have not arrived at this issue 
by any sinuous ways. The conclusion is the spontaneous 
natural result of the principles laid down, and the rea- 
sonings founded upon them. "With a heart full of cha- 
rity for all mankind, and with respect and reverence for 
the good and pious of every denomination, he dismisses 
the whole, with the fullest conviction that the doctrine 
of justification by faith, through the atoning sacrifice of 
that Eternal Word which was manifest in the flesh, is 
the only way by which a fallen soul can regain the 
favour and be restored to the image of its Maker ; and 
be at last brought, through the sanctification of the 
Divine Spirit, to the ineffable glory of God. 



To spread the gospel through the world, God employed 
certain persons who were called an-oaroXot, "apostles, 
persons sent," i. e., immediately from God himself; and 
from him alone they received their commission, which 
was as extensive as the habitable world ; for it was deli- 
vered in these words : " Go ye into all the world, and 
preach the gospel to every creature." This they appear 
to have understood in the most literal sense ; and there- 
fore thought of nothing less than carrying the glad 
tidings of salvation by Christ Jesus to every nation of the 
earth, where the providence of God should open a way. 

It was necessary that, in the first planting of the gos- 
pel, these messengers of God should be able to mark 
extraordinary interpositions of Divine Providence in 
their favour ; and should be furnished, as occasion might 
require, with miraculous powers ; and this we find was 
the case. God did, by extraordinary providences, mark 
out their way, and enabled them to work a variety of 
beneficent miracles ; which at once pointed out the 
nature of the gospel which they preached, and were a 
confirmation of its doctrines. 

Of those peculiarly providential calls, we have a re- 
markable instance in the chapter before us ; by which 
the apostles were prevented from going to a certain place 
in Asia Minor, where they wished to preach the gospel, 
and were sent to another of which they had not thought. 
'• Now when they had gone through Phrygia, and the 
region of Galatia, and were forbidden of the Holy Ghost 
to preach the word in Asia; after they were come to 
Mysia, they essayed to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit 
suffered them not. And they, passing by Mysia, came 
down to Troas; and a vision appeared to Paul in the 
night ; there stood before him a man of Macedonia, and 

f 3 


prayed him, saying, Come oyer to Macedonia, and help 
us," ver. 7 — 9- This was an interposition of providence 
which, to them, had no equivocal voice ; and they im- 
mediately endeavoured to reach Macedonia, assuredly 
gathering that the Lord had called them to preach the 
gospel to the inhabitants of that place. 

The nighest way from Troas in Mysia, where they 
then were, was to run across the top of the iEgean Sea, 
nearly from east to west, which we are informed they 
did ; and thus came by a straight course by Samothracia 
to Neapolis, and thence to Philippi, which appears to 
have been at this time the chief city of that part of 
Macedonia ; though, two hundred and twenty years prior 
to that, when Paulus iEmilius had conquered Mace- 
donia, he made Amphipolis the chief city of that division 
of the country which lay between the rivers Strymon 
and Nessus. Near this city, the Jews who, for the 
purpose of merchandise, frequented these parts, had an 
oratory, or place of prayer ; this place Paul, with Silas 
his companion, visited on the sabbath-days, and preached 
the gospel to the Jews and proselytes who assembled 
there ; and with such good success, under the influence 
of that Spirit which was their constant Helper, that 
several persons were converted ; among whom the most 
remarkable was a woman named Lydia, a seller of 
purple, from the city of Thyatira, in Asia Minor. 

In their occasional attendance at this place, they were 
greatly disturbed by a young woman, who had a spirit 
of divination, and who was maintained by some persons 
of that city, to whom she brought considerable gains by 
her soothsaying: this woman continually followed the 
apostles, saying, " These are the servants of the most 
high God, which show unto us the way of salvation," 
ver. 17- All this was strictly true ; but it was a testi- 
mony very suspicious in such a case; and was given 

a on acts xvi. 30. 125 

with that subtlety and cunning which are peculiar to the 
great deceiver, who never bears testimony to the truth 
but when he designs to injure it. He well knew that 
in the Jewish law all magic, incantations, magical rites, 
and dealings with familiar spirits were strictly forbidden : 
he therefore bore what was in itself a true testimony, 
that he might ruin the credit of the apostles. By such 
a testimony, from such a quarter, the Jews would be led 
to believe that the apostles were in compact with these 
demons ; and that the miracles which they worked were 
performed by the agency of these wicked spirits; and 
that the whole was the effect of magic ; and this would 
necessarily harden their hearts against the preaching of 
the gospel. On the other hand, the Gentiles, finding 
that their own demon bore testimony to the apostles, 
would naturally consider that the w hole was one system ; 
that they had nothing to learn or to correct ; and thus 
to them the preaching of the apostles must be useless. 

In such circumstances as these, nothing could have 
saved the credit of the apostles but their dispossessing 
this woman of her familiar spirit ; and that in the most 
incontestable manner; for what could have saved the 
credit of Moses and Aaron, when the magicians of 
Egypt turned their rods into serpents, had not Aaron's 
rod devoured theirs ? And what could have saved the 
credit of these apostles, but the casting out this spirit of 
divination ; with which, otherwise, both J ews and Gen- 
tiles would have believed them in compact ? Paul being 
grieved, and probably on these accounts, turned to the 
spirit, and commanded him in the name of Jesus Christ 
to come out of her; and he came out in the same hour; 
and from thenceforward the young woman was rendered 
totally incapable of acting the part she had before done ; 
and the source whence her masters had derived so much 
gain was now most evidently closed up. This inflamed 
them to madness; therefore, violently seizing the apos- 


ties, they dragged them before the magistrates, and ac- 
cused them of turbulent and seditious designs. The 
magistrates, without acquainting themselves with the 
merits of the case, ordered their clothes to be rent off, 
and to scourge them. When this was done (and it 
appears to have been executed with as little mercy as 
justice), they were thrust into prison ; and the jailer, 
receiving the strictest charge to keep them safely, put 
them into the dungeon, and made their feet fast in the 
stocks, ver. 18 — 24. 

These outward afflictions, however severe, contributed 
nothing to the diminution of their peace and joy ; they 
had a happiness which lay beyond the influence of those 
changes and chances to which sublunary things are ex- 
posed. They were happy in God, though in the dun- 
geon, and their feet fast in the stocks ; and at midnight, 
while all the rest had forgotten their cares in sleep, Paul 
and Silas prayed, and sung praises to God, ver. 25. 
While thus employed, requesting grace to support them- 
selves, and pardon for their enemies, praising God that 
he had accounted them worthy to suffer shame for the 
testimony of Jesus ; God, by an earthquake, and loosing 
the bands of the prisoners, bore a miraculous testimony 
of approbation to his servants; and showed, in a sym- 
bolical way, the nature of that religion which they 
preached ; for, while it shakes and terrifies the guilty, it 
proclaims deliverance to the captives, the opening of the 
prisons to them that are bound ; and sets at liberty them 
that are bruised. The prison-doors were opened, and 
every one's bands were loosed ; yet so did God order it 
in his wise providence, that not one of the prisoners 
attempted to make his escape ! God never can work a 
miracle to defeat the ends of civil justice ; many of 
those who were here confined were no doubt offenders 
against the laws, and should be judged by the law which 
they had broken. 


The jailer, who was responsible for the safe custody of 
all who were under his care, seeing what was done, 
supposing that the prisoners had escaped, and knowing 
that his own life would be the forfeit, choosing rather to 
die by his own hands than by those of others (for this 
sort of suicide was a heathen virtue), drew out hi^ 
sword, and was just going to kill himself; when Paul, 
perceiving what was about to be done, cried with a loud 
voice, " Do thyself no harm; we are all here !" Asto- 
nished at these circumstances, he called for a light (for 
these transactions took place at midnight), and seeing 
what was done, and that a supernatural agency was most 
evident, fearing for his life, and feeling for his soul, he 
fell down before Paul and Silas; and having brought 
them out of the dungeon, he addressed them in the lan- 
guage of the text, every word of which is most solemn 
and emphatic, " Kvpioi, ri /it Sit 7toihv, iva ow9u> ; Sirs ! 
what must I do that I may be saved ?" Whether this 
strong inquiry refer to personal or eternal safety, or 
whether it relate to the body or soul in a state of danger, 
it is a question the most interesting and important to 

As it has been supposed that the jailer asked this 
question in reference to his personal safety alone, and 
that it had no reference to his soul ; it may be well to 
spend a few moments on the consideration of this point. 

The jailer had seen, notwithstanding the prison-doors 
had been miraculously opened, and the bands of all the 
prisoners loosed, that not one of them had escaped ; 
hence he could not feel himself in danger of losing his 
life on this account ; and consequently it cannot be his 
personal safety about which he inquires. He could not 
but have known that these apostles had been for some 
time preaching at Philippi what they called the doctrine 
of salvation : to this the Pythoness had alluded, " These 


are the servants of the most high God, which show unto 
us the way of salvation," ver. 17. And he knew that 
it was for casting the demon out of this young woman 
that they were delivered into his custody; all this is 
sufficiently evident. The Spirit of God appears to have 
convinced his heart that he was lost, — was in a state of 
the most imminent spiritual danger, and needed salva- 
tion ; and therefore his earnest inquiry was, how he 
should obtain it. The answer of the apostle shows that 
his inquiry was not about his personal safety, as his be- 
lieving on the Lord Jesus could have had no effect upon 
that, in his present circumstances ; for as none of the 
prisoners had escaped, and he saw that this was the case, 
neither he nor his family could have been in personal 
danger ; and if they had, the answer of the apostles 
would have been as impertinent on that ground, as his 
question was, had it referred to personal danger, when 
he must have been convinced that nothing of the kind 
existed. I conclude, therefore, from the circumstances of 
the apostles, the circumstances of the jailer, his question, 
and their answer, that his inquiry concerned the salva- 
tion of his soul, and not the safety of his body ; and, 
being taken in this point of view, it is the most momen- 
tous that can interest or arrest the attention of man. 

I shall now inquire, taking up the subject in this 
sense — 

I. What is implied in being saved ? 

II. How this salvation can be attained ? 

I. I shall not occupy any time in giving the various 
acceptations of the term salvation, or being saved, as I 
suppose it to apply here simply to the salvation of the 
soul ; and shall only observe generally, that it signifies a 
being delivered from imminent danger, or impending 


ruin. The word therefore necessarily implies, 1. Danger, 
without which there could not be deliverance ; 2. Salva- 
tion, or deliverance from that danger. 

The danger to which a soul is exposed, is that of dying 
in a state of sin, falling under the Avrath of God, and 
perishing everlastingly. The cause of this danger is 
having sinned against God, by breaking those laws, on 
the obedience of which God promises life and blessed- 
ness, and on the breach of which he threatens death, 
temporal and eternal. That all human souls have sinned, 
and come short of the glory of God, I shall not wait 
here to prove : the Scriptures assert it ; and it is incon- 
trovertibly proved by matter of fact. That all come into 
the world with a disposition that strongly stimulates them 
to vice, and makes them averse from virtue, is not less 
evident. Hence it follows, that in consequence of their 
personal transgressions, they are exposed to endless 
punishment, and in consequence of their impure and 
unholy nature, they are incapable of the enjoyment of 
eternal glory ; these I judge to be truths, equally asserted 
by the Scriptures, and strongly corroborated by reason. 

To be saved, therefore, implies the being delivered 
from all the guilt of all sin or transgression, from all the 
power or influence of sin, so that it shall have no more 
dominion over them ; and from all the impurity of all 
sin, so that the soul shall be a fit habitation of God 
through the Spirit, and be capable of an eternal union 
with him in the realms of glory. 

I shall not enter here into a consideration of the ques- 
tion, When are these different degrees of salvation to be 
attained ? but only assume that maxim in which all 
Christians are agreed, that unless the soul in the day of 
the Lord be found saved from all the power, guilt, and 
contamination of sin, it cannot inherit an eternal state of 


Therefore, the second question, — the consideration of 
which is'the chief object of this discourse, presses itself 
strongly on our notice, viz. : — 

II. How can human beings, who have sinned against 
God by breaking his laws, and whose nature is depraved 
and polluted, be thus delivered, and thus saved ? Or in 
other words, " How can a man be justified with God ? 
or how can he be clean that is born of a woman ?" Job 
xxv. 4. 

To effect this, five ways have been proposed by men : — 

i. By the law of works, or the merit of obedience to 
the law of God. 

ii. By works of supererogation, including voluntary 
sufferings, rigid discipline, severe austerities, uncom- 
manded mortifications of the body, together with the 
patient endurance of the unavoidable miseries attendant 
on human life. 

in. By penal sufferings in the life to come, such as 
those purgatorial fires imagined by the church of Rome, 
and the pretended emendatory infernal punishments, 
which make a principal part of the doctrine both of the 
ancient and modern universal restitutionists. 

iv. By the metempsychosis or transmigration of souls, 
as a portion of moral evil is supposed to be detached 
from them in each of the bodies which they successively 

v. By the mere benevolence of God, who may, it is 
affirmed, without any consideration except that of his 
own innate eternal goodness, pass by the sins of a trans- 
gressor, and bestow on him eternal glory. 

These five, as far as I can recollect, include all the 
schemes of salvation which have been invented by man. 
Some of these profess to be derived directly from the 
sacred writings ; others, by implication from those 


writings ; and others, from reason, and the opinions of 
ancient philosophers. 

As everything which concerns the eternal estate of the 
soul must be deemed of infinite importance, it will be 
necessary to examine the reasons of each of these pro- 
posed schemes, in order to see whether any of them be 
calculated to effect the purpose for which it is adopted, 
and afford a sure ground to support a sinner's expecta- 
tion of pardon and final glory ? Or if, on examination, 
these should be found either inefficient or inapplicable, 
whether the method proposed by St. Paul, in his answer 
to the jailer, viz., " faith in the Lord Jesus Christ," be 
free from the objections to which the others are liable ; 
and whether it possess such evidence of infallible effi- 
ciency, as may be justly deemed sufficient to vindicate 
the ways of God with man, and support the mighty ex- 
pectations which the sacred writings authorize men to 
build upon it ? 

As each of these systems has its partizans and sup- 
porters, it will be necessary to examine them separately, 
considering in this examination the principal reasons by 
which they appear to be respectively supported. 

i. The first is, that man, by sincere obedience to the 
law of God, may merit pardon and eternal life. 

1. In order that a man may be obedient, or merit by 
obedience or by works, there must be some rule of life, 
or law, laid down and prescribed by his Maker, the pre- 
cepts of which he is to fulfil, in order to claim the salva- 
tion referred to in the question. 

2. It must appear that this law, or rule of life, has 
been so strictly, conscientiously, and universally observed, 
as to justify the claim founded on obedience to its precepts. 

I. This law, or rule of life, must be found in the ori- 
ginal state of man ; or in other words, that law which 


we may presume his Maker imposed on him when he 
gave him his being; for it would be absurd to suppose 
that God formed any intelligent beings without a law, or 
rule of life, when we know that he formed them to show 
forth his glory, which they can do no otherwise than by 
exhibiting, in actions, those virtues derived from the per- 
fections of God. And those actions must be founded on 
, some prescription or rule. No creature of God, whether 
intellectual, animate, or inanimate, is without a law, rule 
of life, or prescribed mode of being, according to which 
it is governed, influenced, and exists ; such laws being 
the source of harmony, order, and consistency in all the 
works of God. 

What our blessed Lord calls " the first and greatest 
commandment," must be the law in question, viz., " Thou 
shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, with all 
thy soul, with all thy mind, and with all thy strength." 
This law may be thus briefly paraphrased : " Thou shalt 
love God with all thy heart ;" — all thy affections shall 
be fixed on and concentrated in him. " Thou shalt love 
him with all thy soul ;" — thy whole life shall be devoted 
to him; thou shalt consider him the great object and 
end of thy being. " Thou shalt love him with all thy 
mind ;" — thy understanding shall be occupied with him 
and his attributes; all thy intellectual as well as thy 
animal powers shall be employed by him and for him. 
He shall be the grand subject on which, through which, 
and in reference to which, all thy rational powers shall 
be incessantly employed. "Thou shalt love him with 
all thy strength;" — all these powers, at all times, to 
the utmost of their respective limits, and with the 
utmost of their separate energies, shall be employed in 
doing his will and promoting his glory. No power 
or faculty shall ever be unemployed ; and none shall ever 
be exerted but to show forth his excellencies and praise. 


The very nature of mans creation must show that this 
was the law or rule of life by which he was called to act. 
This law is suited to the nature of an intelligent being ; 
and as man was made in the imaare and likeness of God, 
this law was suitable to his nature, and the principles of 
it must have been impressed on that nature. It was the 
law of man, or the rule to regulate his internal and ex- 
ternal conduct, when he came from the hands of his 
Creator, when as yet he had neither associate nor de- 
scendant. When he had descendants, and society was 
formed, a second law, flowing from the first, was given 
him, to regulate his spirit and conduct in reference to that 
society of which he was a part ; and hence our Lord, 
with the strictest precision, adds, "The second is like 
unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There 
is no greater commandment than these ; and on these 
hang all the law and the prophets ;" both the law of 
Moses afterwards given, and all the declarations of the 
prophets, being founded on those grand principles, love 
to God, and love to man. And hence every promise and 
every threatening in the whole book of God, relative to 
the merit and demerit of human actions. 

Now the obedience in question must be obedience to 
this law ; and the salvation in question must be, if it 
be at all, the result of such an obedience as this law 

Let it be observed, that such a law, to such a being, 
can admit of no deviations; it requires a full, perfect, 
and universal obedience, and an obedience performed 
with all the powers and energies of body and soul. I 
have fixed on this original law, as demonstrably the most 
proper; and leave out of the consideration the Mosaic 
law, whether ritual, ceremonial, or moral, as well as all 
other laws, or rules of life, derived or deducible from 
these. On this part of the question, it is by the law of 


his creation that man stands or falls. With what was 
given afterwards, the scheme of salvation, which is now 
under examination, has nothing to do. 

Let it be observed also, that no being is capable of ful- 
filling such a law, unless its nature be entirely pure and 
holy; the slightest degree of moral imperfection, the 
smallest irregularity of passions or appetites, would taint 
the required sacrifice, and mar and ruin the service. As 
man came pure and perfect out of the hands of his Cre- 
ator, he was capable of observing this law ; to him, in this 
state, there was nothing difficult, nothing grievous. He 
was made under this law, and he was made equal to it in 
all its requisitions and demands. Obedience to this was 
his duty ; and we may add, it must have been his de- 
light, and that in which his happiness consisted, for no 
superior state of blessedness can be conceived ; for he 
who loves God with all his powers, and serves him with 
all his energies, must be unutterably happy. 

But does it follow that man, in this pure and perfect 
state, fulfilling at all times the sublime duty required 
by this law, could merit an eternal glory by his obedi- 
ence ? No. For he is the creature of God ; his powers 
belong to his Maker ; he owes him all the services he 
can perform ; and when he has acted up to the utmost 
limits of his exalted nature, in obedience to this most 
pure and holy law, it will appear that he can make no 
demand on divine justice for remuneration ; he is, as it 
respects God, an unprofitable servant ; he has only done 
his duty, and he has nothing to claim. In these circum- 
stances was, not only man in paradise, but also every 
angel and archangel of God. Throughout eternity, no 
created being, however pure, holy, submissive, and obe- 
dient, can have any demands on its Creator. From him 
its being was originally derived, and by him that being 
is sustained : to him, therefore, by right, it belongs ; and 


whatever he has made it capable of, he has a right to 
demand. As well might the cause be supposed to be a 
debtor to the effect produced by it, as the Creator in ,any 
circumstances to be a debtor to the creature. 

To merit salvation is to give an equivalent for eternal 
glory : for if a man can be saved by his works, his claim 
is on divine justice; and if justice make a commutation 
of eternal glory for obedience, then this obedience must 
be, in merit, equal to that glory. Justice demands what 
is due ; it can require no more, — it will take no less. 
Man's obedience, therefore, performed in time, which, 
however long, is only a moment when compared to eter- 
nity, must be considered, on this doctrine, equal in worth 
to the endless and utmost beatification which God can 
confer on an intelligent being, — which is absurd. There- 
fore, no being, by obedience in time, can merit an eternal 

Again : to merit anything from God, we must act as 
beings independent of him, and give him that on which 
he has no legal claim; for as we cannot purchase one 
part of a man's property by giving him another part of 
his own property, so we cannot purchase from God any- 
thing that is his own, by that to which he has an equal 
claim. To merit glory, therefore, a man must not only 
act independently of God, but also with powers and 
energies of which God is neither author nor supporter ; 
for the powers which he has created, and which he 
upholds, are already his own ; and to their utmost use 
and service he has an indefeasible right. Now, man is 
a derived and dependent creature ; has nothing but what 
he has received ; cannot even live without the support- 
ing energy of God ; and can return him nothing that is 
not his own ; and, therefore, can merit nothing. On 
this ground, also, the doctrine of glorification by the 


merit of # works, is demonstrably both impossible and 

Once more, to perform acts infinitely meritorious, man 
must have powers commensurate to such acts ; to merit 
infinitely, requires infinite merit in the acts ; and infinite 
merit in the acts, requires unlimited powers in the agent ; 
for no being of limited and finite powers can perform 
acts of infinite worth : but man, in his best estate, is a 
being of limited powers, wholly dependent, even for 
these, on the energy of another; consequently, cannot 
perform acts of infinite worth ; and therefore, can in no 
way whatever merit, by his obedience or his works, that 
infinite and eternal weight of glory of which the Scrip- 
tures speak. On the ground, therefore, of the dependent 
and limited powers of man, the doctrine of final glori- 
fication, by the merit of works, is self-contradictory, im- 
possible, and absurd. 

All the preceding reasoning is founded on the sup- 
position that man is in a state of purity ; having never 
fallen from original righteousness, and never sinned 
against his Creator ; and even in those circumstances we 
find that his pure and spotless obedience cannot purchase 
an endless glory. 

But we must now consider him in his present cir- 
cumstances, fallen from God, destitute of that image of 
God, righteousness, and true holiness in which he was 
created, and deeply guilty through innumerable trans- 
gressions. To him, in this state, the question, " What 
must I do to be saved ?" is of infinite importance ; as, 
through his sinfulness, he is unfit for heaven; and, 
through his guilt, exposed to the bitter pains of an eternal 
death. In his mouth the question resolves itself into 
several : 1. How shall I be delivered from the power of 
sin, that it may no longer have dominion over me ? 2. 


How shall I be delivered from the guilt of sin, that it 
may no longer oppress my tortured conscience ? 3. How 
shall I be delivered from the pollution of sin, and be 
prepared for, and entitled to, everlasting glory ? 

"Will any man say to this alarmed and despairing 
dinner, "Thou must purchase thy pardon, and the king- 
dom of heaven, by a life of righteousness. God requires 
obedience to his law ; and that, joined to sincere repent- 
ance, will induce him to forgive thy iniquities, and admit 
thee at last to his eternal glory." Of what avail are such 
sayings ? Can this satisfy his soul, or quiet the clamours 
of his tormented conscience ? He feels himself incapable 
of any good ; his inward parts are very wickedness ; and 
though he can will that which is right, yet how to per- 
form it he finds not. Can even fond hope lay comfort- 
able hold on such directions as these ? But, as this 
question is too important to admit of hasty and unau- 
thorized conclusions, we must examine the ground of the 
hope which is held out on these terms. 

Though man's state has changed, his duty is not 
changed ; he is still under the same law ; it is as much 
his duty now to "love God with all his heart, soul, 
mind, and strength," as it was the first moment he came 
out of the hands of his Creator. What was his duty 
then, must be his duty through the whole course of his 
being. To fulfil this original law required a pure and 
holy soul, untainted by sin, and unbiassed by iniquity. 
But, instead of a heart filled with holiness and love, he 
has now that " carnal mind which is enmity to God ," a 
mind that is "not subject to the law of God, neither 
indeed can be." To him, therefore, this obedience is 
utterly impossible ; he cannot cleanse his own infected 
nature, and he cannot undo the criminal acts which he 
has already committed ; and, having broken, the divine 
law, the wrath of God abideth on him. We have already 


proved that the most pure and perfect obedience cannot 
purchase glory ; and the same arguments will prove that 
the most perfect obedience cannot purchase pardon. Man 
owes every moment of his existence, and the full and 
constant exercise of all his powers, unto God. Could 
he even now live as pure and as perfect as an archangel, 
this would be no more than his duty ; and, in point of 
duty, it would only be available for the time in which it 
was done ; for as every creature owes to its Creator the 
utmost service it can possibly perform through every 
moment of its being, therefore this obedience does not 
merit anything in reference to the future ; and if it have 
sinned, cannot atone for the past ; the time in which it 
has sinned must stand as an eternal blank, in which all 
its obedience was due, and in which none was performed. 
The non-performance of its duty is such a high degree 
of criminality, as to obliterate its title to the divine pro- 
tection, support, and happiness; and the sins which it 
has committed instead of obedience, have exposed it to 
all the penalties of the laws which it has broken. 

It appears, therefore, that even granting that this fallen 
creature could live, from the present, a life of unspotted 
holiness ; yet this could be considered in no other light 
than merely the obedience due to the Creator, and could 
have no tendency to blot out past transgressions. There 
is, therefore, no hope to any sinner from the doctrine of 
justification, or salvation by works. And taken in any 
point of view, it is demonstrable that no obedience to 
God, even from the most perfect creature, can merit any 
thing ; and that works of merit, and works of superero- 
gation, are equally impossible and absurd ; none can do 
more than he ought ; and none, by doing his duty, can 
have claims upon his Maker. 

I need add nothing here, except the testimony of our 
own church, in her 13th article, where she says, " Works 


done before the grace of Christ, and the inspiration of 
his Spirit, are not pleasant to God ; forasmuch as they 
are not of faith in Jesus Christ ; neither do they make 
men meet to receive grace, or (as the school authors say) 
deserve grace of congruity ; yea, rather, for that they are 
not done as God hath willed and commanded them to 
be done, we doubt not but they have the nature of sin." 
That this doubt of our pious reformers was legitimately 
founded, has been sufficiently demonstrated in the pre- 
ceding reasonings. 

ii. The second scheme of salvation is founded on 
works of supererogation, voluntary and involuntary suf- 
ferings, &c. By supererogation, I mean doing more 
than is required, being more obedient than the law of 
God demands, and thus forming a stock of extra-merito- 
rious acts ; so that a man has not only enough for him- 
self, but has a fund of merits, which the popish church 
professes to have the power to dispense to those who 
have few or none. 

On the preceding point I have proved that it is im- 
possible for any created dependent being to do more than 
its duty, how pure and holy soever that creature may be ; 
and, under the same head, it is proved that no fallen 
creature, in its lapsed state, can even perform its duty 
without supernatural and gracious assistance ; and, con- 
sequently, that the doctrine of works of supererogation is 
chimerical and absurd. On this part of the scheme there 
is, therefore, no necessity to extend the argument. An- 
other testimony from our church, article 14th, will set 
this matter in a strong light : " Voluntary works beside, 
over and above God's commandments, which they call 
works of supererogation, cannot be taught without arro- 
gancy and impiety; for by them men do declare, that 
they do not only render unto God as much as they are 



bound to do ; but that they do more, for his saite, than 
of bounded duty is required ; whereas Christ saith plainly, 
' When ye have done all that are commanded of you, 
say, We are unprofitable servants.' " The arrogancy and 
impiety, and we may add the ignorance, manifested by 
this doctrine, are truly without parallel. 

What remains to be considered is the merit of suffer- 
ings, their capability to atone for sin, and their tendency 
to purify the soul. 

I presume it will be taken for granted that there was 
no suffering in the world previously to the introduction 
of sin ; suffering is an imperfection in nature, and a 
creature, in a state of suffering, is imperfect, because a 
miserable creature. If an intelligent creature be found 
in a state of suffering, and of suffering evidently pro- 
ceeding from the abuse of its powers, it necessarily sup- 
poses that such creature has offended God, and that its 
sufferings are the consequence of its offence, whether 
springing immediately from the crime itself, or whether 
inflicted by divine justice as a punishment for that crime. 
As sufferings in the animal being are the consequence 
of derangement or disease in the bodily organs, they 
argue a state of mortality ; and experience shows that 
they are the predisposing causes of death and dissolution. 
Derangement and disease, by which the regular perform- 
ance of natural functions is prevented, and the destruc- 
tion of those functions ultimately effected, never could 
have existed in animal beings as they proceeded from 
the hand of an all-perfect and intelligent Creator. They 
are, therefore, something that has taken place since cre- 
ation, and are demonstrably contrary to the order, per- 
fection, and harmony of that creation, and consequently 
did not spring from God. As it would be unkind, if not 
unjust, to bring innumerable multitudes of innocent 
beings into a state of suffering or wretchedness ; hence 


the sufferings that are in the world must have arisen 
from the offences of the sufferers. Now, if sin have 
produced suffering, is it possible that suffering can de- 
stroy sin? We may answer this question by asking 
another : is it possible that the stream produced from 
a fountain can destroy the fountain from which it springs ? 
Or, is it possible that any effect can destroy the cause of 
which it is an effect ? Reason has already decided these 
questions in the negative. Ergo, suffering, which is the 
effect of sin, cannot possibly destroy the sin of which it 
is the effect. To suppose the contrary is to suppose the 
grossest absurdity that can possibly disgrace the under- 
standing of man. 

Whether these sufferings be such as spring necessarily 
out of the present constitution of nature, and the morbid 
alterations to which the constitution of the human body 
is liable from morbidly increased or decreased action ; 
or whether they spring, in part, from a voluntary as- 
sumption of a greater share of natural evil than ordi- 
narily falls to the lot of the individual, the case is not 
altered ; still they are the offspring and fruit of sin, 
and, as its effects, they cannot destroy the cause that 
gave them birth. 

It is essential, in the nature of all effects, to depend 
on their causes : they have neither being nor operation 
but what they derive from those causes ; and in respect 
to their causes, they are absolutely passive. The cause 
may exist without the effect, but the effect cannot sub- 
sist without the cause : to act against the cause is impos- 
sible, because it has no independent being nor operation ; 
by it, therefore, the being or state of the cause can 
never be affected. Just so, sufferings, whether voluntary 
or involuntary, cannot affect the being or nature of sin, 
from which they proceed. And could we for a moment 
entertain the absurdity that they could atone for, correct, 

G 2 


or destroy the cause that gave them being, then we 
must conceive an effect, wholly dependent on its cause for 
its being, rising up against that cause, destroying it, and 
yet still continuing to be an effect, when its cause is no 
more ! The sun, at a particular angle, by shining against 
a pyramid, projects a shadow according to that angle 
and the height of the pyramid. The shadow, there- 
fore, is the effect of the interception of the sun's rays by 
the mass of the pyramid. Can any man suppose that 
this shadow would continue well-defined and discernible, 
though the pyramid were annihilated, and the sun ex- 
tinct? No. For the effect would necessarily perish 
with the cause. So, sin and suffering ; the latter springs 
from the former : sin cannot destroy suffering, which is 
its necessary effect; and suffering cannot destroy sin, 
which is its producing cause : ergo, salvation by suffering 
is absurd, contradictory, and impossible. 

hi. Penal sufferings, in a future state, are supposed 
by many to be sufficiently efficacious to purge the soul 
from the moral stains contracted in this life, and to 
make an atonement for the offences committed in time. 
This system is liable to all the objections urged against 
the preceding, and to several others peculiar to itself; 
for if there had not been sin, there had not been punish- 
ment. Penal sufferings, inflicted by divine justice, are 
the desert of the crimes which require justice to inflict 
such punishments. If the sufferings, inflicted by this 
divine justice, be supposed to be capable of annihilating 
the cause for which they are inflicted — if they annihilate 
the cause, they must be greater than that cause, and 
consequently unjust ; because, in that case, the punish- 
ment would be greater than the offence. Such penal 
inflictions could not proceed from a righteous God. 

But the ground of this system is absurd : we have no 


evidence from Scripture or reason, that there are any 
emendatory punishments in the eternal world. 

The state of probation certainly extends only to the 
ultimate term of human life. We have no evidence, 
either from Scripture or reason, that it extends to another 
state. There is not only a deep silence on this in the 
divine records, but there are the most positive declara- 
tions against it. In time and life, the great business 
relative to eternity is to be transacted. On passing the 
limits of time, we enter into eternity : this is the un- 
changeable state. In that awful and indescribable infi- 
nitude of incomprehensible duration, we read of but two 
places or states : heaven and hell ; glory and misery ; 
endless suffering and endless enjoyment. In these two 
places or states, we read of but two descriptions of hu- 
man beings — the saved and the lost ; between whom 
there is that immeasurable gulf over which neither can 
pass. In the one state we read of no sin, no imperfec- 
tion, no curse : there, " all tears are for ever wiped away 
from off all faces ; and the righteous shine like the sun 
in the kingdom of their Father." In the other, we read 
of nothing but "weeping, wailing, and gnashing of 
teeth;" of" the worm that dieth not," and of "the fire 
which is not quenched." There, the nature and ten- 
dency of sin appear in all their colourings, and in all 
their consequences. There, no dispensation of grace is 
published, no offers of mercy made ; the unholy are un- 
holy still ; nor can the circumstances of their case afford 
any means by which their state can be meliorated ; and 
we have already seen, that it is impossible that suffer- 
ings, whether penal or incidental, can destroy that cause 
(sin) by which they were produced. 

Besides, could it be even supposed that moral purga- 
tion could be effected by penal sufferings, which is 
already proved to be absurd, we have no evidence of 


any such 'place as purgatory, in which this purgation 
can be effected : it is a mere fable, either collected from 
spurious and apocryphal writings, canonized by supersti- 
tion and ignorance ; or it is the offspring of the deliriums 
of pious visionaries, early converts from heathenism, from 
which they imported this part of their creed : there is 
not one text of Scripture, legitimately interpreted, that 
gives the least countenance to a doctrine, as dangerous 
to the souls of men as it has been gainful to its inventors : 
so that, if such purgation were possible, the place where 
it is to be effected cannot be proved to exist. Before, 
therefore, any dependence can be placed on the doctrine 
raised on this supposition, the existence of the place 
must be proved, and the possibility of purgation in that 
place demonstrated. The opinion of our own Church on 
this, and its kindred doctrines, should be heard with re- 
spect : " The Romish doctrine concerning purgatory, 
pardons, worshipping, and adoration, as well of images 
as of reliques, and also invocation of saints, is a fond 
thing, vainly invented, and grounded upon no warranty 
of Scripture ; but rather repugnant to the word of God." 
—Article xxii. 

As to the atonement which is to be made to divine 
justice, by enduring the torments of the damned, for 
ages numerable or innumerable, it is not found in the 
letter of the divine oracles, nor by any fair critical de- 
duction from that letter. Purgatory, professing to be an 
intermediate place, previously to its examination, has a 
sort of claim on our attention ; but when this profession 
is examined, it is found to be as unreal a mockery as the 
limbus of vanity, from which its ideal existence has 
sprung. But the doctrine of the final extinction of the 
fire that is not quenched, and the final restoration of all 
lapsed intelligences, has no such claims ; it appears be- 
fore us as a formal contradiction of every Scripture which 


relates to that awful subject ; founding itself on mean- 
ings which have been extracted from Greek and Syriac 
words, by critical torture ; and which meanings others, 
as wise as the appellants, have proved that these words, 
in such connexions, cannot bear. 

But we must take up and view this subject in an- 
other light. We have already seen that every intelligent 
being owes the full exercise of all its powers to its Crea- 
tor, through the whole extent of its being : and if such 
creature do not love and serve God with all its heart, 
soul, mind, and strength through the whole compass of 
its existence, it fails in its duty, and sins against the law 
of its creation. Now, it cannot be said, that beings, in 
a state of penal sufferings, under the wrath and displea- 
sure of God (for, if they suffer penally, they must be 
under that displeasure), can either love or serve him. 
Their sufferings are the consequences of their crimes, 
and can form no part of their obedience. Therefore, all 
the ages in which they suffer are ages spent in sinning 
against this first and essential law of their creation ; and 
must necessarily increase the aggregate of their demerit, 
and lay the eternally successive necessity of continuance 
in that place and state of torment. Thus, it is evi- 
dent that this doctrine, so specious and promising at its 
first appearance, is essentially defective ; and contains in 
itself the seeds of its own destruction. Besides, if the 
fire of hell could purify from sin, all the dispensations 
of God's grace and justice among men must have been 
useless ; and the mission of Jesus Christ most palpably 
unnecessary ; as all that is proposed to be effected by 
his grace and Spirit might be, on this doctrine, effected 
by a proportionate continuance in hell -fire : and there, 
innumerable ages are but a point in reference to eternity ; 
and any conceivable or inconceivable duration of these 


torments, is of no consequence in this argument, as long 
as, at their termination, an eternity still remains. 

This system, therefore, can give no consolatory an- 
swer to the question, "What shall I do to he saved?" 
as it is itself essentially destitute of evidence, deficient 
in the validity of its adduced proofs, and consequently 
incapable of affording conviction to the inquiring mind. 

iv. The doctrine of the metempsychosis, or transmi- 
gration of souls, has been adduced as affording a stable 
ground on which the hope of final salvation might be 
safely built. This doctrine is attributed to Pythagoras ; 
but it is likely that he derived it from the Egyptians or 
Indians, who professed it long before his time ; and 
among the latter of whom it is an article of faith to the 
present day. 

It is on the ground of this doctrine that the Brahmins 
refuse to take any animal food, or destroy any living 
creature ; as they suppose that the soul of an ancestor or 
relative may be lodged in fish, fowl, or beast. This doc- 
trine not only allows men another state of probation 
after this life, but many such states ; for, in every body, 
especially human, through which, according to this opi- 
nion, the soul passes, it has an opportunity of acquiring 
those virtues by which it may be assimilated to the Di- 
vine Being ; and afterwards be absorbed into the divine 

The Pharisees among the Jews were certainly not only 
acquainted with this doctrine, but held it as an article 
of faith. It appears in the question of the disciples to 
our Lord, John ix. 2, " Master, who did sin, this man or 
his parents, that he was born blind ? " Is his blindness 
a punishment on his parents for their sins ? or did he 
sin in some other body, that he is punished with blind- 


ness in this ? Though this doctrine is hinted at in this 
and some other places in the Bible, yet it is nowhere 
taught in that sacred book. It is not a doctrine of reve- 
lation. Nor does it appear to have any foundation in 
reason. There are no facts in nature from which it can 
be inferred ; and I am not acquainted with any argu- 
ments in philosophy, by which it can be proved to be 
either possible or plausible. Yet it has a greater show 
of simplicity and probability than the doctrines of emen- 
datory punishments in hell, or of purging fires in an in- 
termediate state. And were I to become a volunteer in 
faith, I could reconcile the metempsychosis to my rea- 
son, much sooner than I could any of the preceding sys- 
tems. But this scheme also fails in several essential 
points : — ■ 

1. It has nothing in Scripture to support it. 

2. It is not a doctrine that sound philosophy can es- 
pouse ; because it is incapable of any kind of rational or 
metaphysical proof. 

3. Could it be shown to be probable, it would not an- 
swer the end proposed ; as it is absurd to suppose that 
a soul, by becoming brutalized, could be refined and puri- 
fied — or that, by animating a body with bestial inclina- 
tions, it could acquire habits of virtue — or that, by passing 
through so many mediums, it could make atonement for 
past transgressions, while in every state it was com- 
mitting new offences — or that these temporary degrada- 
tions could be considered an adequate price for eternal 
glory. For in this, as in all preceding cases, we are to 
consider that there are, 1. Crimes which require an 
atonement. 2. Impurities which require purgation. And, 
3. A state of endless felicity which must be purchased ; 
and it is obvious that in each of these respects this doc- 
trine, weighed in the balances, is found wanting. 

g 3 


v. The fifth opinion, which is by far the most plausi- 
ble, is this : That God, through his own mere benevo- 
lence, may pardon sin, purify the soul, and confer 
everlasting bliss ; and, therefore, to the sincere inquirer 
in the text it may be said, God is a Being of infinite 
benevolence; trust in his goodness, endeavour to live 
soberly and virtuously for the future, and doubt not that 
he will take you at last to his eternal glory. 

This is specious ; and by such assertions many have 
been and are still deceived. For who can doubt that 
he whose name is mercy, and whose nature is love, will 
not, from his endless benevolence, forgive a miserable 
sinner ; and take, when earnestly solicited, a sincere peni- 
tent to an everlasting state of blessedness ? Doubts on 
this point have been deemed irrational and absurd ; and 
the assertion that salvation cannot be obtained in this 
way, has been regarded as little less than blasphemy. 
To see the merits of this scheme, the reader must con- 
sider that it is not God's benevolence or mercy in or 
through Christ which is here spoken of; but benevo- 
lence or mercy in itself; and acting from itself, without 
any consideration whatever to anything done by the per- 
son himself, or by any other in his behalf: for this 
scheme supposes that God does this merely through the 
impulse of his own benevolence or goodness. 

What God can do in the exertion of any one of his 
attributes, is not the question : but what he can do, 
consistently with all the perfections of his nature. We 
know that he is omnipotent ; and as omnipotence is un- 
limited, and unconfined, it can do everything that is 
possible to be done : but, notwithstanding, it does not 
do all that is possible to be done : for it is possible, in 
the illimitable vortex of space, to create unnumbered 
worlds ; but this is not done. It is possible to change, 
in endless variety, the worlds and beings already made 


and give them new modes of existence, new qualities, 
other forms, habits, &c. &c., by successive infinite 
changes ; but neither is this done. Thus we see that 
the existence of an attribute or perfection in the divine 
nature, does not necessarily imply the exertion of that 
attribute or perfection, in any work suitable or corre- 
spondent to the nature of that attribute. 

All the divine perfections are in perfect unity and 
harmony among themselves : God never acts from one of 
his attributes exclusively; but in the infinite unity of 
all his attributes. He never acts from benevolence to 
the exclusion of justice, nor from justice to the exclu- 
sion of mercy. Though the effect of his operations may 
appear to us to be in one case the offspring of power 
alone — in another, of justice alone — in a third, of mercy 
alone ; yet in respect to the divine nature itself, all these 
effects are the joint produce of all his perfections, nei- 
ther of which is exerted more nor less than another. 
Nor can it be otherwise ; nor must we, by our pre- 
conceived opinions, or to favour our particular creed, set 
the attributes of God at variance among themselves, or 
" wound one excellence with another." God, therefore, 
can do nothing by the mere exercise of his benevolence, 
that is not perfectly consistent with his justice and right- 

Should it be said that, because God is infinitely good, 
therefore we may expect that he will save sinners from 
this consideration alone : I answer, that God is infinitely 
just ; and therefore we may expect that he will, on that 
consideration, show mercy to no man ! Now the argu- 
ment in the one case is precisely as good and as strong 
as in the other; because the justice of God that requires 
him to punish sinners, is equal to his mercy which re- 
quires him to save them. And this argument is suffi- 
cient to show that the exercise of the mere benevolence 


of God is no ground to hope that he will save sinners : 
for humanly speaking, considering the apostate condition 
of this sinful world, and the multiplied rebellions and 
provocations of men, it is more natural to suppose, that, 
if any attribute of God can be exercised exclusively of 
the rest, it must be, in this case, his justice ; and if so, 
the destruction of the whole human race must be in- 
evitable. The conclusion in one case is as warrantable 
and legitimate as in the other. Here, therefore, we gain 
no ground ; but are obliged to retire from the consider- 
ation of this subject with the fullest conviction that sal- 
vation, on this hypothesis, is wholly impossible. 

To the objection, that "as the king has the royal 
prerogative to pardon those who are convicted and con- 
demned by the law ; and that he can, without any im- 
peachment of his character, as the fountain of justice, 
and supreme magistrate in the land, display his royal 
clemency in remitting capital punishments, pardoning 
the guilty, and restoring him to his primitive condition, 
with all the rights and privileges of civil society ;" it may 
be answered, that it is never supposed that the king acts 
thus from the mere impulse of his clemency ; though 
the words, de gratia nostra speciali, et ex mero motu 
nostro, "of our special grace, and mere motion," be 
sometimes used ; yet it is always understood that for 
every act of this kind " there are certain reasons and 
considerations, thereunto him inducing ;" and these rea- 
sons and considerations are such as in his own opinion, 
and that of his counsellors, are a sufficient vindication of 
his conduct. Sometimes in the pardons themselves these 
reasons are stated, Ad instantiam dilecti et fidelis nostri 
A. B. pardonavimus C. D. " at the earnest entreaty of 
our beloved and faithful friend A. B. we have pardoned 
C. D." &c. or, Nos — de avisamento et assensu Domino- 
rum Spiritualium et Temporalium, ac ad specialem re- 

a Discorus;; o:> acts xvi. 30. 151 

quisitionem Communitatis regni nostri Anglise, in pre- 
senti Parliamento nostro existentium, pardonavimus et 
relaxavimus A. B. " We by the advice and consent of 
the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and at the special re- 
quest of the Commons of our kingdom of England in 
the present Parliament assembled, have pardoned and 
forgiven A. B." &c. 

At other times, the king enumerates a great variety 
of reasons why he should do this. 1. A consideration 
that vengeance is the Lord's, and he will repay. 2. A 
consideration of the passion of Christ for transgressors. 
3. Filial piety towards the blessed virgin : and lastly, the 
consideration of innumerable favours received from the 
hand of God ; as in the case of a royal pardon granted 
to several traitors by Hen. VI. See Rymer. vol. ix. p. 178. 

Add to all this, that such clemency is not extended, 
where something cannot be pleaded in arrest of justice ; 
something that may be said to lessen the iniquity and 
enormity of the crime. And it may likewise be added, 
that no wise and prudent king ever resorts to the exer- 
cise of this prerogative of his crown, where the circum- 
stances of the case will not justify him both in the sight 
of equity, and in the sight of his people. For, as Sir 
Henry Finch says, " The king has a prerogative in all 
things that are not injurious to the subject : nihil enim 
aliud potest rex, nisi id solum quod de jure potest ; "for 
the king can do nothing but that only which he can do 
according to law." Finch, lib. lxxxiv. 5. Hence, " the 
power of pardoning offences is intrusted to the king on 
a special confidence that he will spare those only whose 
case, had it been foreseen, the law itself may be pre- 
sumed willing to except out of its general rules, which 
the wisdom of man cannot make so perfect as to suit 
every particular case." 1 Shaw 284. 

The king, therefore, was ever supposed to use his 


royal prerogative in pardoning offences, according to the 
spirit anrt design of the law : and never to pardon him 
whom the law would condemn, all the circumstances of 
his case having been foreseen. 

Now we may rest assured that God never does any- 
thing without infinite reason and propriety ; and requires 
nothing but through the same. His benevolence was 
the same under the Mosaic law that it is now, or ever 
can he, as he is unchangeable ; yet we find that under 
the Mosaic law he required sacrifice, and would not remit 
any offence without this ; and for this conduct he must 
have infinite reason, else he had not required it ; thus we 
see that, during that dispensation, his own infinite good- 
ness, separately considered, was no reason why he should 
remit sin ; else he had gratuitously done it without re- 
quiring sacrifice, which bears all the appearance of a re- 
quisition of justice, rather than a dictate of mercy. 

Again, God can have no motive relative to his king- 
dom or throne, to forgive a transgressor ; for he is infi- 
nitely independent ; therefore no reason of state can 
prevail here, nor even exist; and as to anything that 
might be found by equity, to plead in arrest or mitigation 
of judgment against the rigorous demands of justice, this 
also is impossible; for God's justice can have no de- 
mands but what are perfectly equitable ; his justice is 
infinite righteousness, as totally distant from rigour on 
the one hand, as from laxity or partiality on the other. 
Again, surely nothing can be alleged in extenuation of 
any offences committed by the creature against the Crea- 
tor. Every sin against God is committed against infinite 
reasons of obedience, as well as against infinite justice ; 
and consequently can admit of no plea of extenuation. 
On all these considerations, there appears no reason why 
God should exercise his eternal goodness merely in remit- 
ting sins; and without sufficient reason he will never act. 


Should it be farther said that the wretched state of the 
sinner pleads aloud in the ears of God's mercy, and this 
is a sufficient reason why this mercy should be exercised, 
I answer, as before, that his wicked state calls as loudly 
in the ears of God's justice, that it might be exclusively 
exercised ; and thus the hope from mercy is cut off. Be- 
sides, to make the culprit's misery, which is the effect of 
his sin, the reason why God should show him mercy, is 
to make sin and its fruits the reason why God should 
thus act. And thus, that which is in eternal hostility to 
the nature and government of God, must be the motive 
why he should, in a most strange and contradictory way, 
exercise his benevolence to the total exclusion of his 
justice, righteousness, and truth ! Hence it appears that 
no inference can be fairly drawn from the existence of 
eternal benevolence in God to answer the solemn inquiry 
in the text, or to afford a basis on which any scheme 
of human salvation can be successfully built. 

As these five schemes appear to embrace all that can 
be devised on this subject ; and on examination each of 
them is proved to be perfectly inefficient, or inapplicable 
to answer the purpose for which it is produced, we may, 
therefore, conclude that no scheme of human salvation 
ever invented by man, can accomplish this end ; and the 
question, What must I do to be saved ? must have re- 
mained eternally unanswered, if God, in his boundless 
mercy, in connexion with all his attributes, had not 
found out a plan, in which all his perfections can har- 
monize, and his justice appear as prominent as his 

vi. I come, therefore, to the scheme proposed by the 
Almighty, and contained in the apostle's answer to the 
terrified jailer, " Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and 
thou shalt be saved." 


In order to see the force of the apostle's meaning, and 
understand the propriety of his exhortation, we must en- 
deavour to acquaint ourselves with the person of whom 
he speaks. " Believe," says he, " on the Lord Jesus 
Christ." From this answer, it is certain the apostle inti- 
mates that the believing which he recommends would 
bring from the person who is the object of his exhorta- 
tion, the salvation after which the jailer inquired. And 
as trusting in an unknown person for his eternal welfare 
would be a very blind and desperate confidence ; it was 
necessary that he should be informed of the author, and 
instructed in the principles of this new religion, thus re- 
commended to his notice ; and therefore it is imme- 
diately added, ver. 32, that " they spake the word of the 
Lord unto him," and to all that were in his house — tov 
\oyov tov Kvpiov, the doctrine of the Lord; all the teaching 
that concerned Jesus Christ, and the salvation which he 
came to dispense to mankind. 

From the specimens we have of the apostle's preach- 
ing in the book of the Acts, as well as in his epistles, we 
cannot be at a loss to find what the doctrine was which 
he preached both to Jews and Gentiles : it was in gene- 
ral, "repentance towards God, and faith towards our 
Lord Jesus Christ," Acts xx. 16. And of this Jesus he 
constantly testified, that although he was the most high 
and mighty of beings, yet "he died for our offences, and 
rose again for our justification." 

But who is this Person in whom he exhorts the jailer 
to believe, and who is here called the Lord Jesus Christ? 
That there has been much controversy on the subject of 
this question in the Christian world, is well known ; and 
into it I do not propose at present to enter. I shall sim- 
ply quote one text from this apostle's writings, on which 
I shall make a few remarks, in order to ascertain what 
his views of this person really were : and the conclusions 


which we must necessarily draw from these views. The 
text is, Col os. i. 16, 17, "By him were all things created 
that are in heaven and that are in earth, visible or invi- 
sible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or princi- 
palities, or powers ; all things were created by him and 
for him ; and he is before all things, and by him all things 

Four things are here asserted : — 

1. That Jesus Christ is the Creator of the universe; 
of all things visible and invisible ; of all things that 
had a beginning, whether they exist in time or in 

2. That whatsoever was created, was created for him- 
self : that he was the sole end of his own work. 

3. That he was prior to all creation ; to all beings, 
whether in the visible or invisible world. 

4. That he is the preserver and governor of all things, 
for by him all things consist. 

Now, allowing St. Paul to have understood the terms 
which he used, he must have considered Jesus Christ as 
being truly and properly God : — 

1. Creation is the proper work of an infinite, unli- 
mited, and unoriginated Being; possessed of all perfections 
in their highest degrees ; capable of knowing, willing, 
and working infinitely, unlimitedly, and without control. 
And as creation signifies the production of being where 
all was absolute nonentity ; so it necessarily implies that 
the Creator acted of and from himself: for as previously 
to this creation, there was no being, consequently he 
could not be actuated by any motive, reason, or impulse 
without himself; which would argue that there was 
some being to produce the motive or impulse, or to give 
the reason. Creation, therefore, is the work of Him 
who is unoriginated, infinite, unlimited, and eternal : but 
Jesus Christ is the Creator of all things ; therefore Jesus 


Christ must be, according to the plain construction of 
the apostle's words, truly and properly God. 

2. As, previously to creation, there was no being but 
God ; consequently, the great First Cause must, in the 
exertion of his creative energy, have respect to himself 
alone ; for he could no more have respect to that which 
had no existence, than he could be moved by non-exist- 
ence to produce existence or creation. The Creator, 
therefore, must make everything for himself. 

Should it be objected, that Christ created officially, or 
by delegation, I answer, this is impossible ; for as crea- 
tion requires absolute and unlimited power or omnipo- 
tence, there can be but one Creator, because it is im- 
possible that there can be two or more omnipotent, 
infinite, or eternal Beings. It is therefore evident that 
creation cannot be effected officially, or by delegation; 
for this would imply a Being conferring the office, and 
delegating such power ; and that the being to which it 
was delegated was a dependent being, consequently not 
unoriginated and eternal. But this the nature of creation 
proves to be absurd. 

1. The thing being impossible in itself, because no 
limited being could produce a work that necessarily re- 
quires omnipotence. 

2. It is impossible, because if omnipotence be dele- 
gated, he to whom it is delegated had it not before ; and 
he who delegates it ceases to have it, and, consequently, 
ceases to be God; and the other to whom it is delegated 
becomes God, because such attributes as those with which 
he is supposed to be invested, are essential to the nature 
of God. On this supposition, God ceases to exist, though 
infinite and eternal ; and another, not naturally infinite 
and eternal, becomes such; and thus an infinite and 
eternal Being is produced in time, and has a beginning, 
which is absurd. Therefore, as Christ is the Creator, he 


did not create by delegation, or in any official way 
Again, if he had created by delegation, or officially, it 
would have been for that Being who gave him that office, 
and delegated to him the requisite power ; but the text 
says that all things were made by him and for him, which 
is a demonstration that the apostle understood Jesus 
Christ to be the end of his own work, and truly and 
essentially God. 

3. As all creation necessarily exists in time, and had 
a commencement ; and there was an infinite duration in 
which it did not exist ; whatever was before or prior to 
that must be no part of creation ; and the Being who 
existed prior to creation, and before all things — all exist- 
ence of every kind, must be the unoriginated and eter- 
nal God ; but St. Paul says Jesus Christ was before all 
things; therefore the apostle conceived Jesus Christ to 
be truly and essentially God. 

4. As every effect depends upon its cause, and cannot 
exist without it ; so creation, which is an effect of the 
power and skill of the Creator, can only exist and be 
preserved by a continuance of that energy that first gave 
it being ; hence God, the preserver, is as necessary to 
the continuance of all things as God, the Creator, was 
to their original production : but this preserving or con- 
tinuing power is here attributed to Christ ; for the apos- 
tle says, "and by him do all things consist ;" for as all 
being was derived from him as its cause, so all being 
must subsist by him, as the effect subsists by and through 
its cause. This is another proof that the apostle consi- 
dered Jesus Christ to be truly and properly God, as he 
attributes to him the preservation of all created things, 
which property of preserving belongs to God alone; there- 
fore Jesus Christ is, according to the plain obvious mean- 
ing of every expression in this text, truly, properly, inde- 
pendently, and essentially God. 


Taking, therefore, the apostle as an uninspired man, 
giving his own view of the author of the Christian reli- 
gion ; it seems beyond all controversy, that himself be- 
lieved Christ Jesus to be God : but considering him as 
writing under the inspiration of the Holy Ghost, then we 
have, from the plain grammatical meaning of the words 
he has used, the fullest demonstration that he who died 
for our sins, and rose again for our justification, was God 
over all ; and as God alone can give salvation, and God 
alone remit sin ; hence, with the strictest propriety, the 
apostle commands the almost despairing jailer to believe 
in the Lord Jesus Christ, and he should be saved. 

In examining the preceding schemes of salvation, we 
have already seen, that God cannot act from one attribute 
exclusively; that he can do nothing without infinite 
reason ; and that, when he acts, it is in and through the 
infinite harmony of all his attributes. 

In the salvation of the human soul, two attributes of 
God appear to be peculiarly exercised ; viz., his justice 
and his mercy; and to human view, these attributes 
appear to have very opposite claims ; nevertheless, in the 
scheme of salvation laid down in the gospel, these claims 
are harmonized so, that God can be just, and yet the 
"justifier of him that believeth on Jesus." In this 
scheme " Mercy and Truth are met together ; Righteous- 
ness and Peace have kissed each other." 

From St. Paul's doctrine concerning Christ, as the 
Saviour of men, we may learn what it was which he 
wished the jailer to believe, viz., 1. That this glorious 
"Personage, who was the Creator, Preserver, Owner, and 
Governor of all things, was manifested in the flesh, and 
suffered and died to make an atonement for the sins of 
the world : for it is most evident, from all the apostle's 
writings, that he considered the shedding of Christ's 
blood in his death as a sacrificial offering for sin ; and 


he ever attributes the redemption of the soul and the 
remission of sins to the shedding of this blood. 2. That 
his life was offered for the life of men; and that this 
was a sacrifice which God himself required ; for Christ 
was considered " the Lamb of God which takes away 
the sin of the world." 3. That all the law and the pro- 
phets bore testimony to this ; and that he, as a sacrifice 
for sin, was the end of the law for righteousness, tic Si- 
KCLioowriv, " for justification," to every one that believeth. 
That God manifested in the flesh is a great mystery, 
none can doubt ; but it is what God himself has most 
positively asserted, John i. 1 — 14, and is the grand sub- 
ject of the New Testament. How this could be we 
cannot tell : indeed, the union of the soul with its body 
is not less mysterious ; we can just as easily comprehend 
the former as the latter ; and how believers can become 
" habitations of God through the Spirit," is equally in- 
scrutable to us ; yet all these are facts sufficiently and 
unequivocally attested ; and on which scarcely any ra- 
tional believer or sound Christian philosopher entertains 
a doubt. These things are so ; but how they are so, 
belongs to God alone to comprehend ; and as the man- 
ner is not explained in any part of divine revelation, 
though the facts themselves are plain; yet the proofs 
and evidences of the reasons of these facts, and the 
manner of their operation, lie beyond the sphere of 
human knowledge. 

From what has been said we derive the following par- 
ticulars : — 

1. That the "Word, which was with God, and is God, 
became flesh, and tabernacled among us : this is a truth 
which we receive from divine revelation. 

2. That God never does anything that is not necessary 
to be done ; and that he never does anything without an 


infinite reason : — these are truths, also, which we learn 
from the perfections of the divine nature. 

3. That God has required the incarnation and passion 
of Jesus Christ : — and this the sacred Scriptures abun- 
dantly declare. 

4. That this would not have taken place, had it not 
been infinitely reasonable and absolutely necessary, we 
learn from the same perfections. 

5. That the sacrifice of Christ, thus required by God, 
was infinitely pleasing to him, and completely proper to 
accomplish the end for which it was appointed : — this is 
evident from its being required; for God can require 
and devise nothing that is not pleasing to himself, proper 
in itself, and fit to accomplish the end for which it was 

6. That as the sacrifice of Christ was required to take 
away the sin of the world, we may rest assured that it 
was proper to accomplish that end ; and that God, in 
the claims of his justice and mercy, is perfectly pleased 
with that sacrifice. 

7. That as the dignity of Jesus Christ is infinitely 
great and glorious, so all his acts have an infinite merit, 
because they are the acts of a Being absolutely perfect. 

8. That though his passion and death could take 
place only in the human nature which he had associated 
with his divinity, for in that " dwelt all the fulness of 
the Godhead bodily ;" yet this association stamped all 
the acts of that manhood with an infinite value. 

9. And as these sufferings, &c, took place in human 
nature, and were undergone on account of all those who 
were partakers of that nature, therefore they were suffi- 
cient to make atonement for the sins of the whole world ; 
and are, to the divine justice, infinite reasons why it 
should remit the sins of those in whose behalf these 


sufferings, &c, were sustained. When, therefore, a sin- 
ner goes to God for mercy, he goes not only in the 
name, but with the sacrifice of Christ : this he offers by 
faith to God ; that is, he brings it with the fullest confi- 
dence that it is a sufficient sacrifice and atonement for 
his sins ; and thus he offers to divine justice an infinite 
reason why his sins should be blotted out. To this faith 
can attach itself without wavering; and on this, God 
can look with infinite complacency and delight. And 
it follows, that the man whose business it is to make 
known the way of salvation to perishing mortals can say 
with the utmost confidence to every genuine penitent, 
" Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be 

This scheme is of God's own appointment ; by it his 
law is magnified and made honourable ; from its very 
nature it must be effectual to the purposes of its insti- 
tution ; and is liable to none of the objections with 
which all other schemes of salvation are encumbered. 
By it the justice of God is as highly magnified as his 
mercy. "What the law could not do, in that it was 
weak through the flesh," God has done by " sending his 
Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin (k<« inpi 
i/xapnae, and as a sacrifice for sin), condemned sin in 
the flesh," Rom. viii. 3. And thus our salvation is of 
grace ; of the free mercy of God, in and through Christ; 
not of works, nor of sufferings, that any man should 
boast; and thus God has the glory to eternity, while 
man enjoys the unspeakable gift, and the infinite bene- 
fits resulting from that gift. 

In this scheme of redemption we see a perfect con- 
gruity between the objects of this redemption, and the 
redemption-price which was paid down for them. The 
objects of it are the human race ; all these had sinned. 
and come short of the glory of God : it was right, there- 


fore, that satisfaction should be made in that same 
nature, either by receiving punishment, or paying down 
the \vrpnv, or redemption-price. Now we hare already 
seen, that bearing the punishment due to a crime is no 
atonement for that crime, nor can answer any of the 
purposes of that original law which God gave to man in 
his state of innocency; and we have also seen, that no 
acts of delinquents, however good they may be supposed, 
can purchase blessings of infinite worth, or make atone- 
ment for the past. Hence it is absolutely impossible 
that the human race could redeem themselves ; and yet 
justice, and the fitness of things required that the same 
nature which sinned should be employed in the work of 
atonement. Behold, then, the wisdom and goodness of 
God ! Christ assumes human nature : — that it might 
be free from blot, stain, or imperfection, it is miracu- 
lously conceived, by the power of the Holy Spirit, in 
the womb of a virgin ; and that it might be capable of 
effectually performing every redeeming act, God was 
manifested in this flesh. Here, then, we see the same 
nature suffering which had sinned ; and we see all these 
sufferings stamped with infinite merit, because of the 
Deity who dwelt in that suffering humanity. Thus 
Christ was man, that he might suffer and die for man ; 
and he was God, that the sufferings and death of the 
man Christ Jesus might be of infinite value ! The skill, 
contrivance, and congruity of this system reflect as high 
honour on the wisdom as on the mercy of God ! 

It has been stated in the commencement of this dis- 
course, that men, by their personal transgressions, are 
exposed to eternal punishment ; and in consequence of 
the impurity or infection of their nature, they are inca- 
pable of enjoying eternal glory; and therefore to be 
saved, must necessarily imply the being delivered from 
all the guilt of all sin, and from all its impurity ; so that 


the soul shall be a proper habitation of God through the 
Spirit, and be capable of an eternal union with him in 
the realms of glory. How, therefore, are these purposes 
to be effected by believing on the Lord Jesus Christ ? 
St. Paul says, Gal. iii. 22, "The Scripture hath con- 
cluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus 
Chris* might be given to them that believe." Now the 
promise not only comprehends the incarnation of Christ, 
but also the blessings to be communicated through that 
incarnation. These blessings may be all summed up in 
these three particulars : 1. Pardon of sin. 2. The gift 
of the Holy Spirit, for the purification of the heart; 
and, 3. Eternal life, as the consequence of that pardon 
and purification. Now Christ, by his sacrificial death, 
has purchased pardon for a condemned world, and re- 
conciliation to God ; for " God was in Christ, reconciling 
the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses 
unto them." 2 Cor. v. 19. And we " have redemption 
in his blood, the forgiveness of sins," Eph. i. 7- When 
reconciled to God, and thus brought nigh by the blood 
of Christ, we receive the gift of the Holy Spirit, which 
is a fruit of the death, resurrection, and ascension of our 
Lord. Ps. lxviii. 18, Eph. iv. 8. And this Spirit, which 
is emphatically called the Holy Spirit, because he is not 
only infinitely holy in his own nature, but his grand 
office is to make the children of men holy, is given to 
true believers, not only, to " testify with their spirits that 
they are the children of God" (Rom. viii. 16), but also 
to purify their hearts ; and thus he transfuses through 
their souls his own holiness and purity; so that the 
image of God, in which they were created, and which 
by transgression they had lost, is now restored ; and they 
are, hy this holiness, prepared for the third benefit, the 
enjoyment of eternal blessedness, in perfect union with 
him who is the Father and God of glory, and the Foun- 



tain of holiness. This pardon and reconciliation, this 
holiness* and purity, and this eternal glory, come all in 
consequence of the incarnation, passion, death, resurrec- 
tion, ascension, and mediation of Christ ; and this com- 
plete restoration to the image and likeness of God is the 
utmost salvation the soul of man can possess ; and being 
brought to eternal glory, the utmost beatification of 
which a created intelligent being is capable. And as it 
has been demonstrated that no scheme of salvation ever 
invented by man can procure or produce these blessings ; 
and as the word of God shows that all these things are 
provided by the Christian system ; we may confidently 
assert that " there is no name under heaven given among 
men, whereby we must be saved; neither is there sal- 
vation in any other," Acts iv. 12 ; and with the same 
confidence we can say to every sinner, and especially to 
every genuine penitent, "Believe on the Lord Jesus 
Christ, and thou shalt be saved." The exhortation itself 
appears so very rational, and the basis on which it is 
built so very solid, that all difficulties in the way of faith 
or believing are completely removed ; so that it seems as 
impossible, on this ground, not to believe, as it seemed 
before to credit the possibility of being saved, even 
through this scheme ; because it has been too often re- 
commended unaccompanied with those considerations, 
which prove it to be the first-born of the goodness, 
wisdom, justice, and mercy of the God and Father of 


On a review of the whole of the preceding argumen- 
tation, it may be objected to this doctrine, as it was to 
St. Paul, its first systematic defender, " You make void 
the law through faith." To which we reply, as he did, 
" God forbid ! Yea, we establish the law." 

Whether we understand the term law as signifying 
the rites and ceremonies of the Mosaic institution, or 


the moral law, which relates to the regulation of the 
manners or conduct of men; the doctrine of salvation 
by faith establishes this law. All the law of command- 
ments, consisting of ordinances, had respect to Christ, 
who alone was the Object and the End of this law ; and 
by his passion and death, the whole of its sacrificial 
system, in which its essence consisted, was fulfilled and 

As to the moral law, this also is fully established by 
the doctrine of salvation by faith ; for the faith essential 
to this doctrine works by love ; and love is the principle 
of obedience ; and he who receives salvation by faith 
receives, at the same time, power from God to live in 
obedience to every moral precept ; and such persons are 
emphatically termed the workmanship of Christ, created 
anew unto good works. They are born of God, and his 
seed remaineth in them; and they cannot sin because 
they are born of God. Being freed from the dominion, 
guilt, and pollution of sin, they have their fruit unto 
holiness, and the end everlasting life ; and in a righteous 
life, they " show forth the virtues of Him who has called 
them out of darkness into his marvellous light." The 
very " thoughts of their hearts are cleansed by the in- 
spiration of God's Holy Spirit ; so that they are enabled 
perfectly to love him, and worthily to magnify his name." 
They show the work of the law written in their hearts, 
by living " not after the flesh, but after the Spirit." The 
very Spirit which is given them, on their believing in 
Christ Jesus, is the Spirit of holiness; and they can 
retain this Spirit no longer than they live in the spirit of 
obedience. He who is saved by grace, through faith, 
not only avoids every appearance of evil, but lives an 
innocent, holy, and useful life. Hypocrites, pretenders 
to holiness, and antinomians of all sorts, have no interest 
in this sacred doctrine ; they neither know its nature nor 



its power; before such swine God will not have his 
pearls cast ; they " are of their father the devil, for his 
lusts they will do." Let not the doctrine suffer on their 
account ; they have neither lot nor part in this matter ; 
if they hold this truth in their creed, they hold it in 

We have already seen that the law given to man in 
his state of innocence was most probably this : " Thou 
shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, with all 
thy soul, with all thy mind, and with all thy strength." 
As he not only broke this law by his first transgression, 
but also lost the power to fulfil it ; the object of God, in 
his redemption, was not merely to provide pardon for 
the breach of this law, but to restore him to that divine 
image which he had lost ; hence the gospel proclaims 
both pardon and purification ; and they that believe are 
freely justified from all things, and have their hearts 
purified by faith. Thus the grand original law is once 
more written on their hearts by the finger of God ; and 
they are restored both to the favour and to the image of 
their Maker. They love him with all their powers, and 
they serve him with all their strength. They love their 
neighbour as themselves, and, consequently, can do him 
no wrong. They live to get good from God, that they 
may do good among men. They are saved from their 
sins, are made partakers of the divine nature, escape the 
pollutions that are in the world ; and, being guided by 
his counsel, they are at last received up into his glory. 

" Now, to him who is able to keep you from falling, 
and to present you faultless before the presence of his 
glory with exceeding joy, to the only-wise God, our 
Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both 
now and ever. Amen." 



1 Cor. xiv. 3. 

" He who prophesieth, speaketh unto men to edification, and to 
exhortation, and to comfort." 

" Take heed how ye hear," was an advice of the Son of 
God ; and forcibly states, that serious attention to sacred 
truths is essentially requisite to those who wish to profit 
by them ; and without this, even Christ himself may 
preach in vain. It was the saying of a wise and holy 
man, that " the word of God was never heard profitably, 
but under the influence of that Spirit by which it was 
originally dictated." Long experience has proved, that 
though the mighty Paul may plant, and the eloquent 
Apollos water, yet it is God alone who gives the increase. 
Every minister of God should be deeply sensible of this, 
that he may earnestly implore that help without which 
no good can be done ; that wisdom without which the 
word of God cannot be rightly divided ; and that influ- 
ence on the minds of his hearers, without which there 
can be no fruit of his labours. 

A philosopher among the ancient heathens observed, 

* This Sermon first appeared in the Methodist Magazine for 
1800, p. ;> ; and was afterwards published separately. — Editor. 


that " Man is an animal fond of novelty ;" the observa- 
tion readily acquired the force of an incontrovertible 
maxim, because the facts which save it birth were every- 
where evident, things new or uncommon being always 
found to impress the senses more forcibly than those 
which daily occur. Man is fond of power, and is ever 
affecting to perform actions beyond the limits of his own 
strength; but, as repeated exertions painfully demon- 
strate to him the littleness of his own might, he strives 
to have recourse to foreign help, and especially grasps at 
supernatural powers. Hence originated the desire of 
acquainting himself with the invisible world, that he 
might associate to himself the energies of supernatural 
agents, and by their assistance satisfy his criminal cu- 
riosity, and gratify his pride and ambition. And hence 
the pretensions to potent spells, necromantic incanta- 
tions, and the whole system of magic. It was in con- 
sequence of giving unrestrained scope to this principle 
that miraculous powers were more earnestly coveted in 
ancient (and I may add, in modern) times, than the 
constant ability to do good through that influence which 
can come from God alone, working by that love which 
never faileth. 

That miraculous gifts were largely distributed in the 
primitive church, and especially among the believers at 
Corinth, is sufficiently evident ; and that they were pre- 
ferred by some to that love which is the fulfilling of the 
law, is too plainly intimated in this epistle. The gift of 
tongues, or a supernatural capacity of speaking various 
languages which a man had not learnt, seems to have 
prevailed in the Christian church for a considerable time 
after the day of pentecost. And several, mistaking the 
design of the Lord in the communication of these gifts, 
wished to possess the miraculous power merely for its 
own sake, and not on account of the good which might 


be done by it. Hence, if they spake with tongues (vari- 
ous languages), it was deemed sufficient, notwithstand- 
ing those who heard it were not edified, because they 
did not understand the language which was spoken. 
The apostle shows, that acting in this way did not fulfil 
the kind intention of the Most High, as speaking of the 
deep things of God in the language of an Arab was not 
calculated to instruct a Greek, to whom that language 
was utterly unknown. And though they might appear 
more excellent in their own eyes, because possessing 
more of that knowledge which too often puffeth up (to 
which it appears that some even of the believing Greeks 
were too much attached), yet the apostle assures them 
that greater was he in the sight of God, whose talent led 
to general instruction, than he who possessed the tongue 
of the learned, whether his knowledge were acquired by 
stud}-, or came by divine inspiration. For the grand 
design of the gospel-ministry was, " to instruct men in 
righteousness, to unite them to God, and comfort them 
in all tribulations and adversities ;" and this appears to 
me to be the meaning of the words of the text : " He 
who prophesieth speaketh unto men to edification, and 
to exhortation, and to comfort." 

Two things the apostle presents here to our view : — 

I. The Prophet : " He who prophesieth." 

II. His Work : " He speaketh unto men to edifica- 
tion, exhortation, and comfort." 

I. The word prophet generally conveys the idea of a 
person so far acquainted with futurity as to discern some 
purpose of the Divine Being relative to his government 
of the natural or moral world; but which is not suffi- 
ciently matured by the economy of providence to make, 
as yet, its public appearance among men; and to pro- 
phesy, is usually understood to imply the foretelling such 


an event, the time of its appearance, and the place of its 
operation* with some preceding and subsequent circum- 

That several of those who are termed prophets in the 
Sacred "Writings did thus predict future events, is a 
truth which cannot be successfully contested. A truth 
which successive ages have had the fullest opportunity 
of confirming — which stands as an immense and impreg- 
nable bulwark against all the pretensions and sophisms 
of modern deism ; and which, perhaps, the late eventful 
period tended not less to confirm than any of the pre- 
ceding ones. 

But that this was the original and only meaning of 
the word prophet, or prophecy, is very far from being 
clear. The first place in which the word occurs is Gen. 
xx. 7, where the Lord says of Abraham to Abimelech, 
" He is a prophet (kvi K>as nabi hu) and will pray (^srv 
yithpallel, will make earnest intercession) for thee." In 
the common acceptation of the word, it is certain Abra- 
ham was no prophet ; but here it seems to signify a man 
well acquainted with the Supreme Being, capable of 
teaching others in divine things ; and especially a man 
of prayer — one who had great influence with the God 
he worshipped, and whose intercessions were available 
in the behalf of others. And in this sense the original 
word, N>i3 nabi, is used in several places of the New Tes- 

It was through inattention to this meaning of the 
word which appears to me to be the true, original, and 
ideal one, that all the commentators and critics that I 
have met with have been so sadly puzzled with that part 
of the history of Saul which is related 1 Sam. x. 9—13, 
and xix. 20 — 24. In these passages, the sacred his- 
torian represents Saul, who was neither a prophet nor the 
son of one, associating with the prophets, " and pro- 


pliesying among them ;" to which, it appears, he was led 
" by the Spirit of the Lord which came upon him." 
That this can mean no more than prayer and supplication 
to God, accompanied probably with edifying hymns of 
praise and thanksgiving (for they had instruments of 
music, chap. x. 5), needs, in my opinion, little proof. 
If Saul had prophesied, in the common acceptation of 
the word, it is not likely that we should have been kept 
absolutely in the dark concerning the subject and design 
of his predictions ; of which, by the way, not one syl- 
lable is spoken in the oracles of God. The simple fact 
seems to have been this. God, who had chosen this 
man to govern Israel, designed to teach him that the 
Most High alone is the fountain of all power, and that 
by him only, kings could reign so as to properly execute 
justice, and be his ministers for good unto the people. 
To accomplish this gracious purpose, " he gave him 
another heart," ver. 9, a disposition totally different from 
what he had ever before possessed, and taught him to 
pray. Coming among the sons of the prophets, on 
whom the Spirit of the Lord rested, and who were under 
the instruction of Samuel, chap. xix. 20, while they 
worshipped God with music and supplication, Saul also 
was made a partaker of the same divine influence, and 
prophesied — made prayer and supplication, among them. 
To see one who did not belong to the prophetic school, 
thus incorporated with the prophets, pouring out his 
soul to God in prayer and supplication, was an unusual 
sight, which could not pass unnoticed, especially by 
those of Saul's acquaintances, who probably knew him 
in times past, to have been as careless and as ungodly as 
themselves (for it was only now he got that other good 
Spirit from God, a sufficient proof that he had it not 
before) ; these companions of his being unacquainted 
with that grace which can in a moment influence and 

h 3 


change the heart, would, according to an invariable 
custom, express their astonishment with a sneer, " Is 
Saul also among the prophets !" That is, in modern 
language, " Can this man pray or preach ? He whose 
education has been the same as our own ; employed in 
the same secular offices, and formerly companion with 
us in what he now affects to call folly and sin — can such 
a person be among the prophets ?" Yes. For God may 
have given him a new heart; and the Spirit of God, 
whose inspiration alone can give sound understanding in 
sacred things, may have come upon him for this very 
purpose, that he might announce unto you the righteous- 
ness of the Lord, and speak unto your ruined souls " to 
edification, and to exhortation, and to comfort." 

I have dwelt longer on the case of Saul among the 
prophets, because it appears to be exactly similar to a 
case mentioned in this chapter, and to which my text is 
closely allied. " If any prophesy, and there come in one 
that believeth not, or one unlearned, he is convinced of 
all, he is judged of all ; and- thus are the secrets of his 
heart manifested ; and falling down on his face, he will 
worship God, and report that God is among you of a 
truth," verses 24, 25. Who does not see here a parallel 
case to Saul among the prophets, especially if collated 
with 1 Sam. xix. 20 — 24 : " And Saul sent messengers 
to take David ; and when they saw the company of the 
prophets prophesying, and Samuel standing presiding over 
them, the Spirit of God came upon the messengers of 
Saul, and they also prophesied. And when it was told 
Saul, he sent other messengers, and they prophesied like- 
wise. And Saul sent messengers again the third time, 
and they prophesied also. And Saul went to Naioth of 
Ramah ; and the Spirit of God was upon him also, and 
he went on and prophesied. And he stripped off his 
clothes, and prophesied before Samuel in like manner 


and lay down naked all that day, and all that night. 
Wherefore, they say (as in the case related, chap, x.), 
Is Saul also among the prophets !" 

I have often observed in public meetings among re- 
ligious people, especially in meetings for prayer, that 
persons wholly unconcerned about the matter in hand, 
or its issue, have been suddenly seized by the spirit of 
the supplicants, while vacantly staring at those employed 
in the sacred work, and falling down on their knees, 
have acknowledged the power and presence of the Most 
High ; and like Saul among the prophets have gone on 
supplicating with them, with a renewed heart, and a right 

Those who have taken on them unmercifully to criti- 
cise and condemn such meetings, should prove, in vindi- 
cation of their own conduct, that Saul, the sons of the 
prophets, and the venerable Samuel at their head, were 
enthusiasts and fanatics; and that the parallel case in 
this chapter should have been marked by the apostle with 
terms of abhorrence and detestation, that others might be 
deterred from copying their example. 

The history of Elijah and the priests of Baal, men- 
tioned in 1 Kings xviii., throws farther light on this sub- 
ject. In ver. 26 it is said, " They (the priests of Baal) 
took a bullock and dressed it, and called on the name of 
Baal from morning until noon, saying, Baal, hear us ! 
And they leaped upon the altar — and cried aloud — and 
cut themselves with knives, till the blood gushed out ; 
and they prophesied (iK3im vayithnabeu, "and they made 
supplication") until the time of the evening sacrifice." 
From the whole context it is plain, that earnest importu- 
nate prayer is alone what is meant by prophesying in, 
this place. 

In addition to what has been said, it is necessary to 
observe that prophet, in the text, means not only one 


who, according to the original import of the word, is an 
intercessor, or a man of prayer, which is an essential cha- 
racteristic of every minister of the gospel ; but it means 
also one who teaches others the great and glorious science 
of salvation, and instructs men in their religious obliga- 
tions to God, and in their duty to their neighbour and 
to themselves. And this is undoubtedly the sense in 
which St. Paul uses it here. And as all the prophets 
of God, whose principal business it was to instruct the 
people in the way of righteousness, were men of prayer, 
who were continually interceding with God in behalf of 
the wretched and careless to whom they ministered, the 
term n>3: nabi became their common appellative; and 
thus a part of their office, intercessors for the people, 
might have given rise to that name by which the Spirit 
of God thought proper afterwards to distinguish those 
whom he sent, not only to pray for and instruct the 
people, but also to predict those future events which con- 
cerned the punishment of the incorrigible, and the com- 
fort and exaltation of his own servants. 

A preacher who is not a man of prayer cannot have a 
proper knowledge of the nature and design of the gospel- 
ministry — cannot be alive to God in his own soul ; nor 
is likely to become instrumental in the salvation of others. 
In order to do good a man must receive good ; prayer 
is the way in which divine assistance is received ; and 
in the work of the ministry no man can do anything un- 
less it be given him from above. In many cases, the 
success of a preacher's labours depends more on his 
prayers than on his public preaching. 

In the sense in which I apprehend St. Paul uses the 
word here, our blessed Lord styles John the Baptist a 
prophet, Luke vii. 26. And Zacharias his father, speak- 
ing of him by the Spirit of the Lord, calls him " a prophet 
of the Highest," Luke i. 76, i. e., a teacher commissioned 


by the Lord himself to instruct the inhabitants of Judea 
in the things which related to the manifestation of the 
Messiah and his kingdom ; therefore in ver. 77 5 the 
matter of his teaching is said to be yvmatg (rwTtjpiag, the 
science of salvation. Men are ignorant of God and 
themselves — they must be instructed, and for this very 
purpose the Christian ministry has been established in 
the world. Human sciences maybe profitable in earthly 
concerns, but cannot profit the soul. The science that 
teaches godliness must come from God. No science is 
of any avail to the soul, that does not bring salvation 
with it. This is the excellence of heavenly teaching, 
and an excellence that is peculiar to itself. 

In the same sense Judas and Silas are said to be pro- 
phets, Acts xv. 32, whose business it was to exhort and 
confirm the brethren. See also 1 Kings xviii. 29. 

After what has been said, it is almost superfluous to 
observe, that as the ministers of the gospel are termed 
prophets or teachers, it is necessarily supposed, ]. That 
they are properly acquainted with the nature and design 
of the gospel they teach. And, 2. That men in general 
are ignorant of the things which concern the kingdom of 
God, and therefore have need of such teachers. 

That he who professes to teach a science to others 
should be well instructed in it himself, all must allow. 
And that the mass of the people who even profess Chris- 
tianity are deplorably ignorant of God and his gospel, 
is a melancholy truth. But heavenly things cannot be 
apprehended by the same unassisted powers which appre- 
hend earthly things. To acquire a proper knowledge of 
an art or science, there must be a natural aptitude in the 
mind to receive it ; and where this exists not, the most 
judicious instructions of the most eminent teachers are 
lost. Man has no natural aptitude to heavenly things ; 
the " carnal mind," says the apostle (i. e., the soul which 


relishes nothing but what comes through the medium of 
the flesh, and which tends only to gratify its desires), 
" knows not the things of God ; — it is enmity against 
God;" it is not only ignorant of divine things, but it 
loves that which is evil, and abhors that which is good ; 
therefore, the very first part of the teacher's work is to 
convince men of this, and of its ruinous tendency ; and 
to show them the necessity of applying to God through 
the blood of the cross, who alone can make them wise 
unto salvation, conquer their aversion from holiness, sub- 
due their evil passions, and save their souls. 

In order to persuade men to receive the wisdom that 
comes from God, there must be precept upon precept, 
line upon line, here a little and there a little, according 
to varying circumstances, and the prejudices and capaci- 
ties of the people who are to be taught. To succeed in 
this, as far as man can succeed, the teacher must be en- 
dued with the spirit of love, producing the living flame 
of holy zeal, attaching to itself prudence and discretion, 
which shall cause the sacred fire to burn steadily, while 
love to God and man continues to feed the flame. Con- 
stant supplications must precede, accompany, and follow 
his efforts to guide sinners into the way. And as God is 
thus acknowledged throughout the work, so will he be 
with him in it ; and under such a ministry men cannot 
fail being made wise unto salvation, God giving a con- 
stant power to apprehend, while his faithful ambassador 
is holding forth the words of life. But who is sufficient 
for these things? He alone whom God hath sent, to 
whom he hath intrusted the ministry of reconciliation, 
and whose word he conveyeth with the demonstration of 
his Spirit to the souls of the people. 

II. The work of this prophet or teacher, or what is 
wrought under his ministry, comes now to be more par- 


ticularly considered. The text says, " He speaketh unto 
men to edification, and exhortation, and comfort." 

1. To edification. — The original word, omoSofirj, is, 
upon the whole, properly enough rendered edification; 
but as this is a mere Latin word, the translation itself 
requires to be translated, as it is as unintelligible to many 
people as the Greek word itself. They both literally sig- 
nify to make or build a house. The soul of man is often 
represented in Scripture under the figure of a building. 
This metaphor is frequent in the writings of St. Paul, 
partly because it was peculiarly expressive, and partly 
because such an idea must frequently occur to his mind, 
who was himself a tent-maker, aKrjvoirowQ, such a person 
as we term house-carpenter. Hear him recurring to this 
metaphor on various occasions : " "We who are in this 
tabernacle do groan ;" " Ye are God's building ;" " If the 
earthly house of this tabernacle were destroyed, we have 
a house not made with hands;" "As a wise master-builder, 
I lay the foundation" &c, &c. 

This house God formed in the beginning for his own 
temple. In it he dwelt ; and in it, a sacrifice worthy of 
his immaculate purity and infinite Majesty was con- 
stantly offered up. But alas ! man being in this honour, 
continued not — sin was introduced — the temple became 
defiled — the Lord abandoned it — Satan entered in — and 
the house of the Lord was laid in ruins. To re-edify or 
rebuild this house, and make it once more a habitation of 
God through the Spirit, the almighty Saviour descended 
from heaven, and dwelt, caicTivwotv, made a tabernacle, 
among men, John i. 14, thus showing us, by dwelling in 
our nature, in holiness, purity, and truth, that we might 
again become a holy temple of the Lord, and be raised by 
his grace to that state of moral excellence and glory 
which we had in the beginning, himself being the 
pattern after which he purposed to re-edify the building. 


But though the human soul be in a state of ruin, and the 
form and comeliness of the building be passed away ; yet 
not one of the original materials is lost ; — to follow the 
metaphor, the stones and timbers are still in existence : 
but they are all displaced and disjointed ; and none but 
the divine Architect can revive these out of the rubbish, 
and restore the form and comeliness of the edifice. To 
effect this, the foundation must be again laid, the stones 
cleansed and replaced, and the timbers rejointed. 

Now, other foundation can no man lay, so as to have 
a solid, perfect, and durable building, but that which is 
laid already, viz., Christ crucified; and him, not only as 
the meritorious cause of the building, and great operator 
in it, but also as the pattern according to which the house 
is to be formed. All that is of Christ resembles him. 
When the ruined soul is built up, on, through, and after 
him, the excellence of the materials, the regular adjust- 
)f the parts, the form, beauty, magnificence, and 
of the whole, at once proclaim the infinite skill, 

ted power, and eternal love of the great Architect. 

"But if Christ be the sole builder, &c, what has the 
teacher to do in this work ?" Though he who prophe- 
sieth or teacheth cannot be properly styled the builder ; 
yet he speaks unto men, oig oiKoSofitjv, in reference to this 
building, recommending Jesus as the only Saviour, and 
speaking of the glory and excellence of his work. 

It is not less necessary to build on the foundation than 
to lay it. Many grievously err on this point. They are 
ever laying the foundation, and never building on it. 
and strange to tell, this only is allowed by some to be 
preaching Christ ! as if one should say, " He who is 
determined to build a proper and convenient house for 
himself to dwell in, can never effect his purpose, but by 
laying the foundation every day as long as he lives." 
Who does not see that this man can never have a house ? 


He has no more than its foundation, and can never be its 

Let not this saying he misrepresented ; as if the 
preacher designed to leave Christ out of his building ; 
No. He is as fully convinced, that, on the gospel plan, 
no soul can be saved but through the blood of his cross 
and influence of his Spirit, as he is that a house cannot 
be built without a foundation. But he argues, that as 
the foundation should be laid, and kept lying, once for 
all, and the building raised upon it ; so Christ Jesus as 
the foundation-stone, as the only name through which 
men can be saved, should be laid once for all ; and 
when it appears that this foundation is laid, viz., when 
the sinner trusts on him alone for salvation, renouncing 
all dependence on things in heaven, and things on earth, 
and things under the earth; and when it appears that 
his faith hath not stood in the wisdom of man, but in the 
power of God — being justified freely through the redemp- 
tion that is in Jesus (for then, and not till then, is the 
foundation truly laid), — I say, when this fully appears, 
from that moment the minister of God, who understands 
his work, and attends to it, will speak unto that soul to 

But let it not be supposed that the Lord Jesus has 
nothing to do with the building, but merely to be its 
support. He is still not only the foundation, without 
which the house must be immediately involved in its 
primitive ruin, but also the great director of the whole 
•work. As he came before by blood, so he comes now 
hy water and by the Spirit ; by the washing of regene- 
ration, and the renewing of the Holy Ghost. As it was 
only by his sacrifice that the atonement was made, so 
it is only by his direction and energy that even the 
wisest master-builder can raise on this foundation a su- 
perstructure of gold, silver, and precious stones; for 


without liim nothing good can he done. But the great 
mistake of many is, the preaching Christ, only as the 
author of salvation, without showing him to be the ac- 
complisher of it : proving, indeed well, that it is Christ 
that justifies, but not maintaining fully that his blood 
cleanseth from all unrighteousness. What Christ has 
done for us, is a favourite subject with many ; but what 
Christ is to do in us, is a topic well considered but by 

In those who are faithful, Christ accomplishes his 
great design : they are built up ; the house is com- 
pleted, and becomes a habitation of God through the 
Spirit — a temple of the ever-blessed Trinity. For it is 
written, " If a man love me, he will keep my words, 
and I and the Father will come in unto him, and 
make our abode with him." Hence it appears, that the 
end which the Lord proposes in this great work, is the 
full salvation of the soul, the cleansing and purifying it 
from all evil ; reducing it to harmony and order, that it 
may be complete in him ; for the man of God must be 
perfect (aprwg, well-jointed), thoroughly furnished to 
every good work. 2 Tim. iii. 17- 

From this view of the subject we may easily discern 
what edification means. It is the building up of the 
soul in the knowledge, love, and image of God. And 
continual edification implies a constant growth in grace 
— a daily increase of those graces which constitute the 
mind of Christ — a constant addition to the former stock, 
so that he who believes, and continues faithful, increases 
with all the increase of God. Thus, to his faith is added 
■virtue; to virtue, knowledge; to knowledge, temper- 
ance, brotherly-kindness, and charity; pure universal 
love to God and man. As every new stone that is laid 
in a building adds something to it, and brings it nearer 
its perfection ; so every sermon, every act of faith — of 


prayer — of mercy and kindness, becomes a mean in the 
hand of the Lord of increasing the light, life, and love 
of the believing soul : hence, to be edified does not 
mean merely that a man has received some new infor- 
mation on a divine subject, some increased light in 
sacred matters ; but it means, that the man's house (fol- 
lowing the metaphor) has got another stone added to 
it ; another of its scattered timbers put in joint. In a 
word, that something heavenly is added to what was 
before received. 

As every individual, thus edified by the grace of Christ, 
becomes a temple of God ; so the whole church or as- 
sembly of the first-born forms a vast and grand build- 
ing, in which Jesus lives and reigns ; each who was 
individually a temple of God, becoming a stone or part 
of this general building. Therefore, fully to understand 
what the apostle says on this subject, 1 Tet. ii. 5, 
"Ye also, as living stones, are built up a spiritual 
house," &c., we must form the idea of a number of souls 
edified as before stated, built up in faith and love, in 
inward and outward holiness, united in the bands of 
Christian fellowship, and walking in the consolations of 
the Holy Ghost. These are the lively stones, instinct 
with the living virtue of the living God. These are 
built up a spiritual house ; each is considered a stone in 
the sacred edifice, and a necessary and beauteous part of 
the building. Their places may be different, some within, 
some without ; some in the back part of the building, 
others in the front; some corner-stones, uniting and 
strengthening the building ; others, finishing and perfect- 
ing the work. All are arranged and employed, not only 
according to their several degrees of grace, but also ac- 
cording to their various talents ; nevertheless the whole 
collectively form but one building, the genuine catholic 


or universal church, whose creed is the Bible, and whose 
Inhabitant is the most high GOD. 

In order to erect this glorious building, we are told by 
St. Paul, 1 Cor. xii. 28, that " God hath appointed in 
his church, first, apostles ; secondarily, prophets; thirdly, 
teachers ; after that, miracles; then, gifts of healing, helps, 
governments, and diversity of tongues." And all this is 
done, that, being built up on the foundation of the pro- 
phets and apostles, who made Jesus Christ the chief 
Corner-stone, all the building (through him) might be 
fitly framed together (avvapnoXoyovpivri, properly jointed, 
harmonized, and arranged), and grow into a holy temple 
in the Lord. Eph. ii. 20, 21. Thus, they who pro- 
phesy speak unto men to edification, that they may be 
built up together for a habitation (KaroiKTjrijptov, a con- 
stant dwelling-place) of God through the Spirit. 

2. But he who prophesieth speaketh also to men to 


According to the common acceptation of this word, 
viz., advising a sinner to turn from his sins, and come to 
God for salvation ; this part of the teacher's work must, 
in the nature and order of grace, precede edification. 
But the word irapaKkriaiQ must not be restrained to so 
limited a meaning in this place. From its component 
parts, irapa, near to, and K a\tu>, I call, we may learn, that 
it implies calling the soul near to God, that it may con- 
tract an intimacy with him, be united to, and be continu- 
ally defended, nourished, and supported by him : and 
this, indeed, is the proper business of exhortation. 

As this discovers to us another part of the teacher's 
work, so it gives us another view of the state of a soul 
that is not made a partaker of the salvation of God. Man 
is at a distance from his Maker — not in respect of place, 
for God fills the heavens and the earth, and in him we 


all live, move, and have our being — but in respect of na- 
ture, unity of mind, and conformity of purpose. There 
is no good in man : nor can there be any, while sepa- 
rated from God, and united to sin. God is pure and 
holy ; man is earthly, sensual, devilish : living only in 
reference to earth ; seeking only the gratification of his 
animal desires, and being constantly impelled by a dia- 
bolic influence to break the commandments of his God. 
In a greater or less degree, this is the state of every soul 
of man ; for all, — all have sinned, and come short of 
the glory of God ; and there is none that doeth good, no, 
not one, saith the Lord. The sacred writings uniformly 
represent men as rebels against God ; obstinately bent on 
the pursuit of those things which tend directly to their 
present misery and future destruction : and the conduct 
of men in general demonstrates that the character is 
fairly and faithfully drawn. Notwithstanding, there are 
many who are unwilling to allow that this is a true state 
of the case ; and to get rid of this degrading character 
of themselves, reject the whole system of Revelation, 
and forge themselves another character from what they 
term Natural Religion ; — a system which they acknow- 
ledge did not come from above, for with Revelation they 
will have nothing to do ; and yet this they would have 
others to receive and submit to as .implicitly, as if it had 
come recommended by all the wisdom and authority of 

Mr. Woolaston, the celebrated author of " The Reli- 
gion of Nature delineated," begins his tract thus : " The 
foundation of religion lies in that difference between the 
acts of men which distinguishes them into good, evil, 
and indifferent ; and if there be such a difference, there 
must be a religion, and e contra. Upon this account it 
is, that such a long and laborious inquiry hath been made 
after some general idea, or some rule, by comparing the 


aforesaid acts with which, it might appear to which kind 
they respectively belong. And though men have not 
yet agreed upon any one, yet one there certainly must 
be. That which I am going to propose," &c. 

On this point the following conclusive mode of arguing 
has been adopted : " If the foundation of religion lie in 
the difference of human actions ; and that difference can 
only appear by comparing them with some rule; and 
though, from the beginning of the world to this day, no 
such rule of moral good and evil has yet been agreed 
upon, whereby men might know to which kind their 
actions respectively belong, it is impossible there should 
be any such thing as natural religion or law, because 
their very essence consists in enabling men to distinguish 
their actions, and thereby their choice of acting, whe- 
ther they are virtues or crimes, moral good or moral 
evil. If they had no rule for this, they had no law ; and 
if no law, they could have no religion, which is nothing 
but obedience to law." Or, if " they never agreed upon 
one," and without agreement there can be no rule, then 
there is nothing in this subject obviously clear, universal, 
or true ; but all the definitions of it must be opinion or 
falsehood, because they had no rule or method to frame 
them by. Or, "since a rule there certainly must be," 
if Mr. Woolaston found it out, then all the preceding 
ages wanted it, there was no such thing existing ; there- 
fore, this inference is fair : Mr. Woolaston's discovery is 
the religion of Mr. Woolaston, and not the religion of 
nature. And, if he first made the discovery, how could 
it be owing to reason, since the light of reason was as 
clear 5000 years ago, as it is now ? And if it were not 
from reason that he argued so well, and traced out the 
lineaments of law with such order and perspicuity, then it 
must be from revelation. And that single passage which 
he has taken for the foundation of his work, tears up the 


foundation of his whole system ; and is a demonstration, 
that whatever he says after is not from reason, nature, 
eternal fitnesses, or universal consent, hut from revela- 
tion alone ; and that he has only transferred to the sup- 
port of one school what he learnt in the other. See 
Ellis's Knowledge of Divine Things. This poor, base- 
less system attempts to speak unto fallen man to exhor- 
tation and comfort ; but in such a way as his enemy 
could wish. It expatiates on his dignity and perfection, 
the strength and energy of his reason, though for 5000 
years it has not been able to discover a rule of moral con- 
duct ; and shows him his duty, as it is termed, attempting 
to prove that he is naturally inclined to all good, and 
that it is only from the influence of example that he is at 
any time warped from doing that which is holy and just. 
It tells him he has ample resources in himself to conquer 
any evil propensity he may have acquired, for internal 
evil he has none ; that to act upon this plan, is to get 
free from the shackles of folly and superstition, and to 
enjoy peace of mind and lasting content. 

This, according to such writers, is the supreme good. 
But is there a particle of truth in this meagre system ? Is 
not the whole demonstrably a mere phantom, " an airy 
nothing, without a local habitation or a name ?" Where 
is their certainty ? Where is their comfort ? Ask the 
whole tribe of modern deists, and their elder brethren 
the heathen. But still, it is an important something ! 
Then it is a something that has neither God nor Christ 
in it. Christ it has not ; for it denies and ridicules his 
incarnation, miracles, and atonement. God it has not ; 
for it denies both the necessity and existence of superna- 
tural influence. And yet it is good! It is an effect 
that subsists without a cause : a stream that is full, and 
constantly running, without a producing fountain. It is 
a rational religion, in eternal hostility to reason : it will 


not aljpw that man is at a distance from God ; and yet 
it will not admit that he is nigh. Union with God 
through the influence of his Spirit is, with it, enthu- 
siasm ; and to say that man is a fallen spirit, and utterly 
incapable of recovering himself from his ruinous state, is 
the language of reason and common sense, and therefore 
must not be countenanced. The conclusion from its 
leading- principles is, Man is not evil, for the Scripture 
account of his fall is a fable : he is not good, for there, 
is no inspiration of a divine Spirit. In a word, he is like 
those who have invented the absurd system, Nothing, or 
good for nothing. 

But to return. As exhortation implies calling near to 
God, and supposes a distance between him and the sin- 
ner, as stated before ; so it implies bringing God near to 
the soul. God was in Christ reconciling the world to 
himself — and where two or three are gathered together 
in the name of Christ, he is in the midst of them. He 
who speaketh unto men unto exhortation, can assure 
them that the kingdom of God is at hand — and that 
God waits to be gracious, and rejoices over them to do 
them good : therefore, the trembling sinner may come 
with boldness unto the throne of grace, and ask mercy, 
and find grace to help in time of need. Draw nigh, 
therefore, to God ; and let it be remembered, that draw- 
ing nigh implies turning the desires of the heart towards 
him, — " my son, give me thy heart !" entering into his 
gracious counsels and designs ; and accepting, as a lost 
sinner, the ample salvation purchased by the blood of 
the cross. 

Exhortation of this nature is peculiarly needful : and 
indeed must precede the building up first spoken of, 
because every awakened sinner is afraid of God ; and 
like the penitent publican, stands afar off, not daring to 
approach even the place where God records his name • 


and it is a secret, which is not with all men, to know 
how to represent Christ as present, and to bring the 
trembling soul even to his seat. When a sinner considers 
God as throned in insufferable light and glory ; infinitely 
full of holiness and justice ; he dares not draw near : but 
when he views the light of his glory in the face of Jesus 
Christ, when he is persuaded that God is love, he is then 
inspired with confidence ; and, coming by Christ Jesus, 
he approaches the Eternal Deity with humble boldness, 
through the medium of his own nature ; for God was 
manifest in the flesh ! 

But this part of the teacher's work, as was hinted be- 
fore, must not be restrained merely to those who know 
not God. Every believer in Christ Jesus stands in need 
of it. What is the general voice of the gospel, but a 
continual call to men, to come unto God ! What is the 
whole of salvation, but a drawing nigh to him, in conse- 
quence of the invitations received from his word, and 
from his ministers ? What is endless glory, but an eter- 
nal approach to the infinite perfections of the Godhead ! 
The sinner is invited to draw near : the believer is in- 
vited to draw nearer. The sinner who receives not this 
exhortation cannot be saved : the saint who does not 
continue to receive it cannot stand. Thus sinners and 
saints are the continual objects of exhortation. Sacred 
system of eternal truth ! River of God ! whose streams 
make glad the holy city ! Thou provest, that by bringing 
God down to man, man is brought up to God, made 
a partaker of the divine nature, and seated on the throne 
of his glory ! But this leads me to speak of another im- 
portant part of the teacher's office, which is, — 

3. To speak unto men to comfort. 

The word irapafivQia here used signifies properly that 
comfort which a person receives conversing face to face 
with his friend. Speaking words of comfort, descriptive 



of tho^e good things of the existence of which we are 
assured, and the promise of which we receive on indu- 
bitable authority. 

This part of the teacher's work includes not only his 
loving affectionate manner of preaching the gospel, but 
also pastoral care ; his visiting from house to house, — his 
hearing and determining what were formerly called 
cases of conscience, — his searching into and removing 
those scruples which arise from the power of temptation 
in the minds of those who are but beginning to walk in 
the way of life. These require the speediest and ten- 
derest aid of the Christian prophet, who has himself 
been comforted in all his tribulations, and is hereby 
enabled to comfort others by the comfort with which he 
himself has been comforted of God, 2 Cor. i. 4. 

The promises of the everlasting gospel furnish the 
teacher with abundant matter for the consolation of the 
distressed, both in public and private. There is not a 
state of affliction or trial into which a person can be 
brought, that has not some promise of comfort or support 
annexed to it in the Sacred Writings. " Come unto me, 
all ye who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give 
you rest," is a promise of general application ; and, as 
Luther once said of a similar one, " is worthy to be car- 
ried from Rome to Jerusalem on one's knees." Indeed, 
the whole gospel of God is one grand system of conso- 
lation ; hence, it is properly adapted to the state of suf- 
fering humanity. Man is a wretched creature ; and his 
state of misery is necessarily implied in the text. He 
cannot be happy, because he is unholy; and holiness 
and happiness are joined in eternal union by the Lord. 
As God is the Fountain of all blessedness, no intelligent 
being can be happy but in union with himself. Sin 
prevents this union from taking place ; for God can join 
himself to nothing but what resembles his own nature. 


As nothing but sin prevents this union from taking 
place, the teacher of righteousness can speak to comfort, 
by proclaiming that divine grace, which not only atones 
for, but destroys sin ; and which is glad-tidings of great 
joy to all people. 

It is much to be lamented that the benevolent gospel 
of the Son of God is represented by many as a system 
of austerity and terror ; but no man can represent it as 
such who understands it. If, knowing the terrors of the 
Lord, we persuade men, it is not by these terrors we 
prevail on them to accept salvation through Christ. 
The place of torment is uncovered in the sacred Scrip- 
ture, that men may see and escape from it; and the 
teacher of righteousness should only describe the devil, 
and his reign of misery, so as to cause men to fall in 
love with Christ, and his heaven of glory. 

Many seem to have hell and destruction for a constant 
text ; and all their sermons are grounded on these sub- 
jects. These may alarm the careless, and terrify the 
profane ; and so they are useful in their place ; but they 
certainly do not " speak to men to comfort :" nor should 
a whole discourse be employed in this way. It is the 
doctrine of Jesus; of Jesus dying for our sins, and 
rising for our justification; Jesus, shedding his love 
abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit, filling us with 
the meek, holy, gentle mind that was in himself, that 
ever can be available to a sinner's conversion and com- 
fort. From long experience I can testify, that preaching 
the love of Christ who bought us, is of more avail to 
convert sinners, comfort the distressed, and build up 
believers in their most holy faith, than all the fire of 
hell. For, as it is possible to make void the law, through 
a lawless method of preaching faith, so it is possible to 
make void the gospel by an unevangelized preaching of 
the law and its terrors. Let the law be used as God 

i 2 


uses it * let it enter that the offence may abound, and 
that sin may appear exceeding sinful ; then let the veil 
be taken away from off the face of the gospel, and let 
its heavenly splendours shine forth on the wretched. Tell 
them, prove to them, that God is love ; that he delights 
not in the death of a sinner ; and that he wills all to be 
saved, and come to the knowledge of his truth. Let 
the sinner's astonished soul contemplate the fullest proofs 
that even God himself could give of his willingness to 
save men, viz., the agony and bloody sweat, the cross 
and passion, the terrible death and glorious resurrection 
of the Almighty Jesus ! Let him who prophesieth show 
these to the vilest, the most profligate, and the most 
wretched of sinners ; and then let them disbelieve the 
philanthropy of God, if they can. 

'' But," says one, " I am a sinner condemned by the 
law of God, and condemned by my own conscience ; 
for, having broken the law, I am under the curse." 
Granted : but the gospel proclaims Jesus ; and Jesus 
saves sinners. " But I deserve no mercy." True : but 
the gospel speaks not of the merits of man, but of the 
merits of Christ. It is because thou art a sinner that 
thou hast need of him ; and hadst thou not been such, 
Jesus needed not to have died for thee. Again, it is 
because thou art a sinner that thou hast a claim on his 
mercy ; and that very thing (thy guiltiness) which thou 
conceivest to be an argument against thee, and an insu- 
perable barrier to thy salvation, is an unanswerable argu- 
ment in thy behalf; and an absolute proof that if thou 
come unto him who died for thee thou shalt not perish, 
but have everlasting life. In compassion to thy weak- 
ness, and to show that " God is love !" he hath pro- 
mised thee life ; and bound himself by his oath to fulfil 
the promise he hath made ; that, through these two im- 
mutable things, his oath and promise, in either of which 


it is impossible for God to lie, thou mightest have strong 
consolation while fleeing to lay hold on the hope set 
before thee in the gospel. Thus, the testimonies of 
Christ encourage, and thus he who prophesieth speaketh 
unto men to comfort. Lord of the universe ! what hast 
thou not done to save men ? And yet, dreadful ob- 
stinacy ! they will not come unto thee that they might 
have life ! 

After all, it is only Christ who can speak to the heart ; 
who can give the word of promise its form, substance, 
and fulfilment in the soul. To get this done, the teacher, 
as stated in the beginning of this discourse, must be a 
man of prayer, that he may bring the Spirit, as well as 
the word of Christ, into his public ministrations. Then 
an unction will accompany his word, and all his hearers 
shall be evidences that this teacher " speaketh unto men 
to edification, and to exhortation, and to comfort." 
From what has been said, we may learn, — 
First, That every minister of God is divinely taught, 
is made wise to salvation himself, and filled with the 
Holy Ghost and with prayer. 

Secondly, That he who receives the gospel is trans- 
lated from the kingdom of darkness, sin, folly, and 
error, into the glorious liberty of the sons of God. 

Thirdly, That the religion of Christ does not consist 
in a system of opinions orthodox or heterodox, but is 
a principle that edifies, that builds up the soul in know- 
ledge and love ; that takes sin from it, and adds holiness 
to it. 

Fourthly, That the gospel unites God and man. It 
calls men to God, and brings God to men, that they may 
be of one spirit with him. 

Fifthly, That, in consequence of this union, men 
become partakers of the divine nature ; escape the con- 


tagion that is in the world; and become truly happy, 
because 1b.ey are completely holy. 

Sixthly, That Christ, and him crucified, is the grand 
subject of evangelical preaching ; and that nothing but 
his gospel ever was, or will be, the power of God to the 
salvation of a lost world. 

Lastly, That where there is a ministry by which men 
are not made wise unto salvation, not saved from sin, 
and not built up in holiness, under which they are not 
united by the Spirit of Christ to the God of heaven, and 
not made happy in his love ; there, either the teacher or 
the matter of instruction is not of God : for, " he who 
prophesieth, speaketh (according to my text) to edifica- 
tion, and to exhortation, and to comfort." 

Now unto God only wise, gracious, and good, be glory 
and dominion unto all ages, through Christ Jesus ! Amen, 
and Amen. 



Matt. xxii. 15 — 21. 

15. " Then went the Pharisees, and took counsel how they 
might entangle him in his talk. 

16. " And they sent out unto him their disciples, with the He- 
rodians, saying, Master, we know that thou art true, and teachest 
the way of God in truth, neither carest thou for any man ; for thou 
regardestnot the person of men. 

17. " Tell us, therefore, What thinkest thou t Is it lawful to 
give tribute unto Caesar, or not 1 

18. " But Jesus perceived their wickedness ; and said, Why 
tempt ye me, ye hypocrites 1 

19. " Shew me the tribute money. And they brought unto him 
a penny. 

20. " And he saith unto them, Whose is this image and super- 
scription ? 

21. " They say unto him, Caesar's. Then saith he unto them, 
Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's ; and 
unto God the things that are God's." 

By the parable of the marriage feast, which our Lord 
delivered in the beginning of this chapter, the Pharisees, 
who perceived that they were especially intended by 
those who reject the offers of God's grace and mercy, 
and thereby expose themselves to inevitable destruction, 
became exceedingly incensed. Our Lord having con- 
cluded, they went out covered with confusion, and took 
counsel — plotted, " how they might entangle him in his 


talk," tv \oyif, by his discourse or doctrine ; resolving to 
ask him subtle and ensnaring questions, which might 
involve him either with the Roman government, or else 
with the Jewish rulers. 

As they felt they had no mean adversary to contend 
with, they endeavoured to collect all their strength for 
their projected assault. They gathered together their 
own disciples, and associated them with another subtle 
and dangerous class, the Herodians; and having con- 
certed their schemes, and matured their plan, began their 
attack in the most covered manner ; masking their mali- 
cious designs with the deepest dissimulation and flattery : 
" Master, we know that thou art true, and teachest the 
way of God in truth, neither carest thou for any, for 
thou regardest not the person of men ; tell us, therefore, 
what thinkest thou, Is it lawful to give tribute unto 
Caesar, or not ?" verses 16, Yl. 

In examining this subject, I shall make — 

I. Some remarks on their deeply rooted and inveterate 
enmity against our Lord ; and, 

II. Consider the manner in which he defeated their 

I. The depth of their malice appears, — 

1. In their mode of attack. 

They had often questioned our Lord on matters con- 
cerning religion ; and his answers only served to increase 
his reputation and their confusion. They now shift 
their ground, and question him concerning state affairs, 
a subject at all times peculiarly dangerous under a 
jealous and despotic government ; and the question which 
they proposed is such as must be answered, and yet the 
answer, to all human appearance, can be none other than 
what may be construed into a crime against the people, 

A DISCOURSE ON MATT. XXII. 15 21. lijf) 

or against the Roman government. It was, in effect, 
; ' Should this people be governed acccording to the Re- 
velation and ordinances which God has given them, or 
according to the caprices and unhallowed devices of pro- 
fligate pagan rulers ?" 

Their malice appears farther, — 

2. In the choice of their companions in this business. 

" They sent out unto him their disciples with the 
Herodians." The term Herodians seems to have two 
distinct meanings in the gospels : 1. A certain class of 
politico-religionists; and 2. The domestics, or courtiers 
of Herod. 

The first do not appear to have had any existence be- 
fore the time of Herod the Great, who died about three 
years after our Lord's incarnation ; and from this Herod, 
it is generally supposed, this sect derived its origin. Our 
Lord, in Mark viii. 3, speaks of the leaven of Herod : 
"And he charged them, saying, Take heed, beware of 
the leaven of the Pharisees, and of the leaven of Herod ;" 
and by this he most undoubtedly means a bad or spurious 
doctrine received from this great wicked man. What 
this was may be easily discovered : — 

1. Herod subjected himself and his people to the 
domination of the Romans, in opposition to that law, 
Deut. xvii. 15 : "Thou shalt not set a king over thee — 
which is not thy brother ;" i. e., one who is not a true 
Israelite, a legitimate descendant of Jacob. 

2. He builded temples, set up images, and joined in 
heathenish worship, though he professed the Jewish reli- 
gion ; and this was in opposition to all the law and the 
prophets. From these two facts we may learn that the 
Herodians were, 1. Such as held it lawful or expedient 
to transfer the divine government to a heathen ruler. 
And 2ndly, Such as made no scruple to conform occa - 

i 3 


sionally to heathenish rites in their religious worship. In 
short, they were corrupters of the true religion ; they 
trimmed between God and the world — endeavoured to 
reconcile his service with that of Mammon ; and were 
of that form of religion which served best to secure their 
secular interests. It is thought that this sect became at 
last blended with and lost in that of the Sadducees ; for 
the persons who are called Herodians, or those infected 
with the leaven of Herod, Mark viii- 15, "Take heed, 
beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, and of the leaven 
of Herod ;" are called Sadducees in Matt. xvi. 6, " Take 
heed, and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, and of 
the Sadducees." And as this leaven is styled by our 
Lord hypocrisy, Luke xii. 1, " Beware of the leaven 
of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy," the character 
given above is not overcharged. They were politico- 
religionists, corrupters of the word and worship of 
God, hypocrites, and such as only used even their spu- 
rious worship no farther than it promoted their secular 

That by this term is also meant the domestics or cour- 
tiers v of Herod, is very probable ; and that those men- 
tioned in the text were the servants or courtiers of Herod, 
king of Galilee, is very likely. Herod, king of Galilee, 
was at this very time at Jerusalem, whither he had come 
to hold the passover. Our Lord being of Nazareth, 
which was in Herod's jurisdiction, was consequently con- 
sidered his subject. Herod himself was extremely 
attached to the Roman government, and made a public 
profession of this attachment to please the Roman em- 
peror; and it is not improbable that these Herodians, 
whom the Syriac in this place calls domestics of Herod, 
were in religious feeling pretty similar to the sect already 
described. All these considerations would show the wily 


and malicious Pharisees that these Herodians were very 
proper persons to associate with them in this infernal plot. 
Their malice and hypocrisy appear farther — 
3. In the insidious praises which they bestow on our 

'•Master, we know that thou art true, and teachest 
the way of God in truth." This was, indeed, the real 
character of our Lord ; he was a true man, and a teacher 
of the truth ; of falsity, or of false doctrine, none could 
convict him. He proclaimed the truth of God, and bore 
testimony to that truth; and no earthly consideration 
could induce him to suppress the declaration, or with- 
hold the testimony. He respected not the persons of 
men : the Roman emperor, the Jewish rulers, the Phari- 
saic hypocrites, the Sadducean infidels, the Herodian 
time-servers, the sly politician, the furious bigot, and the 
humble villager, were all the same in his sight, when the 
truth of God was to be declared, and his judgments 
against iniquity and its workers denounced. In such 
cases he cared for no man ; for he accepted not the per- 
sons of men. Here, therefore, they bore testimony to 
the truth ; but it was merely with the design to make it 
subserve their bloody purposes. Those who are under 
the influence of the Satanic principle never attempt to 
do anything like good, but when they hope to accomplish 
evil by it. Men, who praise you to your face, are ever 
to be suspected ; and flatterers generally possess either a 
base or a malicious mind. 

But their malice appears still farther — 
4. In the question which they propose. 
" Is it lawful to give tribute unto Cffisar or not V 
The constitution of the Jewish republic ; the expectation 
which they entertained of future glory and excellence ; 
the diversity of opinions which divided the Jews on the 
subject of their restoration to dominion and prosperity ; 


and the state of vassalage in which they were now held, 
rendered an answer to this question extremely difficult. 

1. It was difficult to answer such a question in the 
presence of the people, who professed to have no other 
king than God, and looked on their independence as an 
essential point of their religion. 

2. It was difficult to answer it in the presence of the 
Pharisees, who were ready to stir up the people against 
him, should his decision be contrary to their prejudices, 
or to their religious rights. The latter embraced so many 
political considerations and questions, that the difficulty 
was increased tenfold. 

3. It was difficult in the presence of the Herodians, 
who, if the decision should appear to be against the rights 
or prerogatives of CaBsar, were ready to inflame their 
master to avenge, by the death of our Lord, the affront 
offered to his master, the emperor. All these things the 
Pharisees had plotted and calculated. 

4. The answer was difficult because of the different 
sentiments of the Jews on this very subject ; some con- 
tending that they could not lawfully pay tribute to a 
heathen governor ; while others held, that as they were 
now reduced under this strange government, and had 
no power to free themselves from it, it was consequently 
lawful for them to pay what they had not power to 

5. The answer was difficult because of the peculiar 
state of public feeling at this time. The expectation of 
the Messiah was now pretty general. The miracles which 
our Lord had wrought were numerous, public, beneficent, 
and highly descriptive of an unlimited power. In short, 
they were such as the prophets had declared the Messiah 
should work in the days of his manifestation in Israel. 
" The eyes of the blind were opened, the ears of the 
deaf were unstopped, the lame man leaped as an hart 


and the tongue' of the dumb sang," Isai. xxxv. 5, 6. 
Even more than the prophets had predicted was done ; for 
the lepers -were cleansed, the dead raised, the laws of 
nature variously inverted at his word ; and the poor had 
the gospel preached unto them. It is not therefore to 
be wondered at, that multitudes of the people had now 
begun to receive Jesus as the promised Messiah, whom 
they expected to be the deliverer of their nation from 
spiritual and temporal oppression ; and on the conviction 
that he was the person promised, they had lately sung 
the Hosanna rabba, chap. xxi. 8, 9 : " Save now, we be- 
seech thee ! " redress our grievances, and give us help 
from oppression ; and by their placing him in triumph 
upon an ass, spreading their garments, and strewing 
branches on the way, gave the amplest proof, both by 
their words and actions, that they acknowledged Christ 
for their king, and looked to him for deliverance. And 
although they plainly saw that he had neither army nor 
exchequer, yet they were satisfied, from the stupendous 
miracles which they saw him work, that he had all na- 
ture at his command ; and could not be for a moment 
deficient in means, if he chose to use them, of accom- 
plishing the most extraordinary designs. If, therefore, 
he should decide the question in Caesar's favour, what 
opinion must the people have of him, either as zealous 
for the law, or as the expected Messiah ? Should he 
decide the question against Caasar, nothing but his own 
miraculous power could save him from ruin. They had 
thus placed him between the horns of a dilemma ; an- 
swer which way he would, decide as he might, they con- 
sidered his ruin inevitable ; and the question was such 
as must be answered ; silence on the subject would be 
equally ruinous to him as decision. Perhaps in such 
circumstances no human being was ever before placed. 
Who can sufficiently admire that Divine wisdom, by 


which he defeated a plot of the blackest treason ever 
laid in the deepest wiles of malicious cunning and mor- 
tal enmity ! 

II. Let us now consider the manner in which he de- 
feated this plot : — 

Our Lord opposes his consummate wisdom to the depth 
of their malice, and manifests it — 

1. By unmasking them, showing that he knew the 
secrets of their hearts ; and that those hearts were des- 
perately wicked. " But Jesus perceived their wickedness, 
and said, Ye hypocrites, why tempt ye me ?" Why do 
you try me thus ? Ye pretend love for God, and respect 
for Caesar, while in heart traitors to both. He knew their 
wickedness, saw through their false pretences, and called 
them hypocrites ; on such a question, and in such cir- 
cumstances, the word hypocrite implied anything that 
was base, malicious, and evil. This address must cover 
them with confusion, when they saw their motives thus 
discovered, because it not only intimated their unworthy 
and wicked conduct, but must lessen their influence in 
the sight of the people ; to whom it would be manifest 
that they acted not through a desire to receive informa- 
tion by which to regulate their conduct in matters both 
religious and civil; but merely to ensnare and ruin a 
man, who had in every respect lived and laboured for 
the public welfare. They were wicked and hypocriti- 
cal ; and he perceived their state, and charged them with 

Christ shows his profound wisdom and prudence — 

2. In not attempting to discuss the question at large, 
as that would have involved considerations of a political 
nature, which the common people could not well com- 
prehend ; and of which, in any case, they would have 
been very inadequate judges. And in this has not our 



Lord left the preachers of his gospel an example that 
they should follow his steps? How injudicious must 
that preacher be, who frequently brings before his people 
abstract questions concerning civil rights and civil wrongs, 
party politics, reasons of state, financial blunders, royal 
prerogatives, divine right of kings, &c, questions on 
which a thousand things may be said pro and con ; and 
after all, a wise and dispassionate man finds it extremely 
difficult, after hearing both sides, to make up his mind 
as to that to which he should from duty and interest 
attach himself. Those who have made the science of 
law and government the study of a considerable part of 
a long life, possessed of such advantages as can never 
fall within the reach of the common people, find them- 
selves often puzzled in their own speculations and de- 
ductions, though formed on and from principles, of the 
truth and excellence of which they can entertain no 
doubt ! How then can the uneducated, how naturally 
strong soever and vigorous their intellect may be, judge 
on such subjects, so as to steer clear of the perplexities 
of the science in general, and of the practical absurdities 
into which the partisans of liberty and prerogative are 
continually running ? Our Lord, therefore, wisely avoids 
such discussions, as they could never lead to general edi- 
fication ; and settles the business by seizing a maxim 
that is common among all nations, and was practically 
acknowledged by the Jews, viz., that the prince who 
causes his image and titles to be struck on the current 
coin of a country thereby claims the sovereignty, and is 
virtually acknowledged to be the governor. Instances of 
this are frequent in Asiatic history. I shall give a few 
specimens : When sultan Mahmoud, king of Maver-an- 
nahar, Turquestan, and the Indies, wished to seize on 
the dominions of Seideh, queen of Persia, who was re- 
gent for her young son Meged-edde-vlet, about AD. 


999, he sent an ambassador to her with the following 
order : Acknowledge me for thy king ; order the khoot- 
hah to be read (that is, prayers to be made for him as 
such), in all the mosques of the kingdom ; and get the 
money recoined with the impression that is on mine; 
thus intimating that she must deliver up her dominions 
into his hand. See Biblioth. Orient, de Galand, p. 453. 
"When Esau Afghan carried his conquests into Bhatty, 
in the viceroyalty of Bengal, he caused the khootbah to 
be read, and the country coin to be struck in the name 
of the emperor Akbar, his master." Ayeen i Akbery, 
vol. ii., and for other instances, see pp. 38, 92, 94, 130, 
139, 187- This, therefore, was a grand principle, uni- 
versally acknowledged ; level with the capacities of even 
the lowest of the people ; the force of which would be 
immediately felt, and the conclusion from the premises 
be irresistible. 

3. In order to convict and confound them, our Lord 
asks them to show him the tribute money ; the current 
coin of the country, or what each ordinarily paid for the 
tax in question, and which was probably now in the 
act of being levied by the Roman tax-gatherers; and 
they brought to him a penny ; a denarius, a small silver 
coin something larger than our finest sixpenny pieces, and 
worth about ^\d. or 8d. of our money. This coin was 
stamped with the image of the reigning emperor and his 
titles on one side ; and generally some emblematical re- 
presentation, with the time when and the authority by 
which it was struck, on the other. When our Lord had 
viewed the piece, and its image and legend, he demanded, 
Whose is this image and superscription ? He knew well 
enough whose they were, but he showed his excellent 
wisdom, — 

4. By making them answer to their own confusion. 
They came to ask captious questions, that they " might 


entangle him in his talk," ver. 15. They thought that 
they could so twist, knot, noose, and entangle him in 
their net of deceit, that he should not be able to extri- 
cate himself. They came to ensnare him in his dis- 
course, and now they are ensnared in their own. This 
was in the order of God's providence : he that digs a pit 
for his neighbour, ordinarily falls into it himself. Never 
were men more sure of triumph ; and never was there a 
greater likelihood of conquest, the above difficulties 
considered; and they brought numerous and sufficient 
witnesses, their own disciples with the Herodians, in 
order that the presumed fact of our Lord's treason against 
God or the Roman emperor, might be duly attested, that 
he might be immediately dragged to public punishment ; 
and thus they would get rid of a censor who unmasked 
their hypocrisy, and published to their deluded follow- 
ers the malignity of their hearts. We may therefore 
assert, never was there so strong a confidence of success, 
on better apparent grounds, and never a more signal 
defeat of men who already deemed themselves secure of 

The question of our Lord they are obliged to answer 
according to truth ; the image, the emperor's head, was 
evident, and the legend or inscription perfectly legible ; 
and therefore they are obliged to say, " The image and 
inscription are Cassar's." Caesar was a common name of 
the Roman emperors : it was derived from the famous 
Julius Caesar, who was the first who caused his image 
to be struck on the Roman coin. Twelve emperors in 
succession bore, with other names and titles, that of 
Caesar ; and hence in history called The Twelve Ccesars. 
These were, 1. Caius Julius Cassar; 2. Augustus Octa- 
vianus Caesar ; 3. Claudius Tiberius Cassar ; 4. Caius 
Caesar Caligula ; 5. Drusus Claudius Caesar ; 6. Clau- 
dius Domitius Nero Caesar ; 7- Sergius Sulpicius Galba 


Caesar; 8. Marcus Salvius Otho Caesar ; 9. Aulus Vi- 
tellius* Csesar ; 10. Titus Flavius Vespasianus Caesar ; 
II. Titus Vespasianus Caesar ; 12. Titus Flavius Domiti- 
anus Caesar. He who was now clothed with the imperial 
purple was Tiberius Caesar, and it was probably a denarius 
of his coin that was now produced. 

Having acknowledged that the image and inscription 
were Caesar's, he immediately draws a conclusion from 
these premises, " Render therefore unto Caesar the things 
that are Caesar's." You acknowledge this to be the coin 
of the Roman emperor (so much the name Caesar always 
imported), this coin is current in your land ; you receive 
and pay it in your ordinary transactions ; the currency 
of the coin shows the country to be under the Roman 
government; and your acknowledging it to be Caesar's, 
and your use of it in your ordinary transactions, proves 
that you have submitted. You are therefore under this 
government ; the protecting military force of the country 
is from this government ; the very guard of your temple 
is composed of Roman troops. The government that 
protects a people should be supported by that people ; 
for all government is instituted and subsists for the sup- 
port and defence of those who are under its influence. It 
is right therefore that you should pay tribute ; — do not 
therefore be unjust. " Render to Caesar the things that 
are Caesar's ;" pay that tax which you acknowledge to be 
justly due, because you have received the coin as a proof 
of your subjection to that government, live under its 
authority and protection, and are therefore bound to con- 
tribute to its support. And while you acknowledge that 
you should not be unjust, but " render to Caesar the things 
that are Caesar's," do not be impious, but " render to God 
the things that are God's." You acknowledge Caesar to 
be your sovereign in all civil matters ; and he demands 
bis denarius by way of tribute : you acknowledge Jeho- 


vah to be your sovereign in all religious matters ; and he 
demands for the support of his temple-service a half- 
shekel, Exod. xxx. 13, 14. The former is a small portion 
for the protection you enjoy : the latter though twice as 
much, is equally small for the spiritual advantages you 
may reap from the Almighty's word and ordinances. Do 
not pretend to say you cannot pay to the temple, because 
you are obliged to pay tribute to Caesar ; and do not pre- 
tend to say to Caesar, that you cannot pay tribute to him, 
because your law obliges you to pay tribute to God. 
Neither is heavy ; under neither will a peaceable and 
pious mind feel any burden. You profess to be attached 
to your religion, and to be loyal to the government ; 
therefore " render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's ; 
and render to God the things that are God's." 

This answer is full of consummate wisdom; it con- 
tains the principles which establish the limits, regulate 
the rights, and distinguish the jurisdiction, of the two 
empires of heaven and earth. The image of princes 
stamped on their coin denotes that temporal things be- 
long to their jurisdiction. The image of God, originally 
stamped on the soul, denotes that all its faculties and 
powers belong to the Most High, and should be employed 
in his service. In every kingdom and state, general cus- 
tom, law, common sense, and reason, cry aloud, Render 
to CjEsar the things that are Caesar's. To every 
human soul, no matter in what country, or under what 
species of civil government, divine revelation, reason, 
conscience, and unvarying truth, proclaim, Render to 
God the things which are God's. 

The rights of civil governments are widely different 
from those of God. Governments have their geogra- 
phical limits, and their political relations and depen- 
dencies. Their jurisdiction refers to territory, and to 


those who dwell on it ; and their rights are such as are 
assigned, defined, and regulated by just laws, and pru- 
dent enactments. 

All nations are by providence under the government 
of God ; but the soul and body of man, in reference to 
religion and morality, are especially subject to him. He 
rules reason by his Spirit, conscience by reason, and the 
lower faculties by conscience. Where he has granted 
his revelation, the whole are to be regulated by its dic- 
tates. Over body and soul his dominion is absolute 
and unlimited, because he is their Creator and preserver. 
From God alone, in religion and morality, men derive 
their laws ; and by his revelation, his rights in and over 
them, the doctrines of his truth, and the ordinances of 
his religion, are determined. To hem and him alone, in 
all these respects, men are to be subject. These are rights 
which the Supreme Being never intrusts or delegates to 
another. For man to usurp any of them, is treason 
against the Lord ; and he who surrenders them to a 
fellow-mortal, sins against his own soul, and dishonours 
his Maker. Were it otherwise, truth could not exist in 
the earth, and true religion could have no being ; for 
every man would have creeds, forms, rites, and fashions, 
according to the fantastic and ever-varying caprices of 
his own mind. God says, " My son, give me thy 
heart ;" and, " Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with 
all thy, heart, soul, mind, and strength;" "Thou shalt 
worship the Lord thy God; and him only shalt thou 
serve." These are the things that are God's; his un- 
alienable rights over and in the bodies and souls of men. 
The withholding them is iniquity; an act contrary to 
them is rebellion and transgression ; and a persistence 
in transgression is not only sin, but contempt of the 
divine authority, insult to God's majesty, and treason 

A DISCOURSE ON MATT. XXII. 15 — 21. 207 

against his government; and for this, the blackness of 
darkness is reserved for ever, as well as the worm which 
never dies, and the fire which is never quenched. 

While men contend about certain articles of religious 
creeds, there are few who deny the general rights of God 
over them. Conscience, and his own revelation, bear 
the same testimony ; scarcely a sinner can be found who 
will attempt to vindicate his transgressions; he knows 
he should fear the Lord, and depart from evil ; and that 
he who sins pierceth himself through with many sorrows, 
and rewards evil to his own soul. 

But it is not so with the rights of Caesar ; on these 
how few individuals, and how few nations, are agreed ! 
The discontents and repinings of the multitude prove 
the former ; and the different forms of civil government 
which prevail in the world prove the latter. Yet as 
there are in religion certain common principles which 
speak to the consciences of all mankind, and in which 
there is a general agreement among all those who pro- 
fess to believe in the true God, and receive the Holy 
Scriptures as a revelation from him ; so there must be 
some general principles of civil government, which speak 
to every man's conscience and reason ; and by the 
acknowledgment and operation of which the peace and 
well-being of society are secured. Unhappily these are 
generally overlooked. Abstruse principles are sought 
out ; difficult questions relative to civil rights and civil 
wrongs are agitated ; daring assumptions become the 
foundations of violent assertions ; the worst passions are 
excited, and when excited, inflamed by addresses rela- 
tive to insulted privilege, to rights withheld, and wrongs 
inflicted ; discontent is engendered ; even- man becomes 
wise in his own eyes, and prudent in his own conceits; 
disorder prevails ; wholesome laws cease to be respected ; 
popular tumults and seditions become general; multi- 


tudes ase gathered together, and throw dust in the air, 
while the greater part know not why they are come 
together. When these things become common, peace 
and happiness must be banished from the land where 
they exist, and human blood will soon be shed like water 
upon the earth. This is no child of fancy ; we have seen 
too much of the beginning, progress, and operation of 
these evils in the latter part of the 18th and beginning of 
the 19th century, not to know, as well the possibility as 
the cause of their occurrence. 

Even now the foundations of the earth are out of 
course ; and while the public is agitated with the ques- 
tion of political rights and wrongs, the anxious reader 
will naturally ask, " What does a man owe to Caesar V 
That is, the civil government under which he lives. Our 
blessed Lord has answered the question, '• That which 
is Caesar's." But what is it that is Caesar's ? If we do 
not puzzle this question, nor perplex it with matters 
which do not immediately concern it, we shall find it to 
admit of a simple and easy answer, an answer with 
which every reasonable man will be satisfied. 

Every man owes to Caesar, that is, the civil government 
under which he lives, — 

I. Honour. 

II. Obedience. 

III. Tribute or Tax. 

I. Honour. The professed object of all kinds of 
government is the protection, support, and happiness of 
the people. This object is accomplished in a less or 
greater degree, under every kind of government in the 
world. Were it not so, society must become extinct. 
No people can govern themselves ; they must be governed 
by persons appointed to, and set apart for this purpose. 


This is the case, whether the governor be hereditary or 
elective. Civil government is ordained by God ; for we 
shall shortly see, that power or civil magistracy is from 
God, and is arranged under him ; it is therefore worthy 
of the highest respect, next to that which we owe to God 
himself. Vid. Sermon XXXVII., " The Origin and End 
of Civil Government," p. 220. He who respects not civil 
institutions, and those who in the course of God's provi- 
dence are clothed with political authority, will scarcely 
regard civil obligations ; and the men who can speak evil 
of such dignities will, in general, be found such as have 
little reverence for God himself. It is therefore most 
evident that every man should honour and reverence civil 
authority, in whomsoever it is invested; 1. Because it 
comes from God. 2. Because, without it, society could 
not subsist. 3. Because in every case it promotes, in a 
less or greater degree, the public welfare ; and 4. Be- 
cause, in its support and preservation, his own happiness 
is intimately concerned. If Caesar in his official cha- 
racter do not receive that honour which, from the origin, 
nature, and end of government, is due to him, public 
order and tranquillity must soon be at an end. 

II. Obedience. There can be no government with- 
out laws ; and laws, howsoever good in themselves, are 
useless if not obeyed. In the order of God, to Caasar is 
intrusted the civil sword ; and the laws show how he is 
to wield it. While it is a " terror to evil doers," it is a 
"praise to them that do well." Where the laws are 
right, and equal justice is maintained, no honest man 
need fear the sword. Obedience to the laws is abso- 
lutely necessary ; for when the spirit of insubordination 
takes place, no man ever can have his right ; nothing 
but wrong prevails ; and the property of the honest and 
industrious man will soon be found in the hands of the 


knave* Those who have nothing to lose, and to whom 
the state owes nothing, are the first to cry out of wrongs, 
and the first to disturb civil order, that they may enrich 
themselves with the spoils of those who, by legal in- 
heritance, or honest industry, have obtained wealth. 
Wherever the spirit of disobedience and insubordination 
appears, it should be discountenanced and opposed by 
every honest man. The very seeds of it are dangerous ; 
the embryo and buds much more so ; and the fruit 
ruinous. For all reasons of personal safety, public peace, 
and public prosperity, obedience is due to Caesar. "When 
Caesar ceases to receive obedience, personal safety and 
public happiness are at an end. 

III. Tribute. This word may require a little ex- 
planation. Tribute is, properly speaking, a stated sum 
paid in acknowledgment of subjection, as of a vassal to 
a lord, or of a conquered nation to the conqueror. It is, 
therefore, not so proper a word to express the money 
granted by the people, in a free state, to defray the ex- 
penses of that government by which they are supported 
and defended, as tax. Tax, as used in this country, is 
well defined, " A certain aid, subsidy, or supply, granted 
by the Commons of Great Britain, in parliament assem- 
bled, constituting the king's extraordinary revenue, and 
paid yearly towards the expenses of the government." 

Formerly this was exacted from the people at the 
king's pleasure; and this mode was liable to great 
abuses : but Edward I. bound himself and his successors 
not to levy it but by consent of the realm. And in the 
present time, no tax is laid or levied but by the consent 
and authority of a majority of the representatives of the 
people, in parliament assembled. If, therefore, these 
representatives be pure and faithful, no unconstitutional 
tax, nor any that is not necessary, can be laid. To fide- 


lity and purity, the commons are bound by profession, 
honour, oath, and the laws : if they act contrary to these, 
they are no longer worthy of the confidence either of the 
king or of the country. For they who would betray 
their country will not scruple to betray their king. Re- 
lative to taxation, Mr. Locke's fundamental proposition 
is worthy of the deepest regard of every Briton : " Tis 
true," says he (Essay on Government, cap. xi., sect. 140), 
" government cannot be supported without great charge ; 
and it is fit that every one, who enjoys his share of pro- 
tection, should pay out of his estate his proportion for 
the maintenance of it; but still it must be with his own 
consent, that is, the consent of the majority, giving it 
either by themselves, or their representatives chosen by 
them. For if any one shall claim a power to lay and 
levy taxes on the people, by his own authority, and 
without such consent of the people, he thereby invades 
the fundamental law of property, and subverts the end 
of government. For what property have I in that 
which another may, by right, take when he pleases to 

By the British constitution no man can do this ; and 
although the king of Great Britain is a powerful sove- 
reign, and has many and great prerogatives, yet he can- 
not, were he so disposed, take one penny out of the 
purse of his subjects, without the consent of a majority 
of their representatives. 

Nothing can be more reasonable than the principle of 
taxation. Every country must have a government. 
Every government has three grand duties to perform in 
behalf of the governed : 1. To maintain domestic order. 
2. To distribute impartial justice. 3. To protect from 
foreign enemies. For the first, many civil officers and a 
militia are generally required. For the second, courts of 
justice, judges, &c, must be provided. For the third, a 



strong military and naval force, particularly in times of 
■war or danger, must be always on foot or in readiness, 
in order to save the state. In all these cases, multitudes 
of officers, establishments, depots of provisions, arms, 
military stores, &c, must be provided. Men of great 
and eminent abilities and learning must be employed ; 
and their labours should be compensated according to 
their merits and services to the state. To support such 
establishments must require a prodigious sum, even 
when the concerns and operations of each are conducted 
with the most rigid economy : such expenses are abso- 
lutely necessary, and therefore unavoidable ; and although 
the public functionaries and various officers may find 
their own emolument in their respective services, and 
pursue them for their own ends and interest; yet, as 
their services are required by the state, and are indis- 
pensably necessary for the support and comfort of the 
people, they have an indisputable right to a just remu- 
neration ; and are as worthy of their proper salaries as 
the labourer is of his hire. 

Now all these expenses are incurred for the public, 
and by the public they ought to be borne ; and taxation 
is the only mode by which money can be raised to defray 
these expenses. Every man, therefore, who shares in 
the blessings of domestic peace, who glories in the ad- 
ministration of impartial justice, and who wishes the 
land of his nativity, the constitution of his country, and 
its civil and religious institutions, to be preserved to 
himself and his descendents, should cheerfully bear his 
part of the public burdens, by giving that tribute to 
Cajsar through whom, and from whom, according to the 
constitution, under the superintendence of God's provi- 
dence, all these inestimable blessings are derived. He 
should support the government, that the government 
may support him ; and the principle of justice is the 


same here as in the performance of any civil contract, or 
the remuneration of any kind of service. The justice 
that obliges me to pay the hireling his wages, equally 
obliges me to pay tribute to Caesar. I have had the 
hireling's labour ; he has had my pay. I have had the 
protection of the state ; it has had my respect, obedience, 
and support. In both cases obligation and interest are 
mutual. I owe nothing to my servant for his faithful 
labour, when I have paid him the stipulated wages : he 
owes nothing to me for his pay, when he has faithfully 
performed his task. It was my interest to have his 
faithful labour ; it was his interest to have my monej-. 
Both were equally interested and bound; and both 
equally benefited by the proper discharge of our mutual 
obligations. Apply this to the state and the subject. 
The state is bound to protect the subject ; the subject is 
bound to obey and support the state. When the subject 
is protected in all his rights and privileges, the state has 
done its duty. When the subject honours the state, 
obeys the laws, and contributes his quota for the support 
of government, he has done his duty. The obligations 
were mutual ; the interests the same. By the discharge 
of the obligations on both sides, each stands acquitted ; 
and the sense of mutual dependence is increased and 
deepened. The subject cannot live without the support 
of the state ; the state cannot exist without the obedi- 
ence and support of the subject. 

I speak now on the general principle, which has been 
artfully concealed from the view of the people by those 
who, while they professed to deplore their vassalage, 
sought their own emolument in the ruin of the objects 
of their pretended pity. I speak not this in reference 
to any member of either house of parliament, whether 
in what is called the opposition, or in favour of the 
ministry. Perhaps I am singular in my opinion ; but in 

k 2 


my sight both are highly honourable, and highly neces- 
sary in a state like ours, where prerogative might trench 
on civil liberty, and liberty on prerogative ; but I speak 
of those wicked or misguided men (few, very few, thank 
God ! in number) who, in themselves discontented and 
unruly, wish to transfuse the turbulence of their own 
spirit through the middle and lower classes of society. 
Men of honour may be mistaken; but they can never 
be knaves nor oppressors. 

Enormous salaries for civil and state services have 
also been pointed out, as sources of oppression and 
public misery. I am one of the last in the empire that 
would lift up a voice, or use a pen knowingly, for the 
support of corruption of any kind ; but I will also show 
my opinion. I have had occasion and opportunity to 
look into most of the offices of the state; to see the 
hands employed, and the work done ; and though inured 
to labour from my youth, and rarely shrinking from any 
work, merely because it was difficult, when I knew that 
it was expedient to be done ; yet I freely declare, that 
had I the most rational conviction of my suitableness 
and ability to fill any of them, I would not accept the 
highest salary of the best paid public functionary, to 
perform his labour, submit to his privations, and endure 
his anxieties. And yet, strange to tell, multitudes of 
the common people have been persuaded to believe that 
those enormous salaries, as they have been called, are 
paid for scarcely any public service ! Let this fact speak : 
we have scarcely an aged statesman in the land ! And 
why ? Incessant labour, public responsibility, and cor- 
roding anxious care, have brought them to an untimely 
grave. To the few that do remain, what a poor com- 
pensation is a pension, or their continued salary, for 
the loss of health, and the abridgment of life. Envy 
itself is never more mistaken than when she makes a 


condition of this kind an object of her malevolent re- 

This I have also observed, that those who have the 
highest pay have the severest or the most difficult duties 
to perform. Duties which they cannot perform by 
proxy, because none but themselves can bear the respon- 
sibility. For sinecure places and unmerited pensions I 
shall never plead ; but if a man have not sufficient mo- 
tives of self-interest to serve government, none, or none 
of character, will ever be found to perform the offices 
and bear the responsibility to which the occupation of a 
public charge of this kind will necessarily subject him. 
I have heard of disinterested men in different depart- 
ments of life ; I have met with few of them : I have 
heard of disinterested patriots and statesmen, but have 
seen none, nor do I search for them. I have sought for 
Utopia, but have not found it in the map of the uni- 
verse. With me it is a maxim, " The labourer is worthy 
of his hire :" and there is nothing in law, in equity, or 
even in the revelation of God, and the sound dictates of 
religion and morality which are derived from it, that 
calls upon any man to serve the state or the public for 
nought. A genuine patriot loves his country; if he 
labour for it, let him be paid. A true loyalist loves his 
king and country; if he labour for both, let him be 
doubly honoured and rewarded. I shall never fall out 
with any man for expecting and claiming the due reward 
of important services. While his self-interest has also 
in view the public benefit, and labours to promote the 
honour of the king and the welfare of the country, it has 
an indisputable right to a legal remuneration; and it 
must be satisfactory to every just and generous mind to 
see, that he who has laboured for the public advantage 
has benefited himself. The British people would abhor 
the sight of a Chatham reduced to indigence, a Mans- 


field pyiing in poverty, or a Cornwallis begging his 
tread. All have their rights, — God and C^sar, — the 
servants of the crown, the servants of the public, and 
the people themselves ; and these rights should be stre- 
nuously maintained and religiously respected. I contend, 
therefore, — 

1. The civil government under which a man lives, 
and by which he is protected, demands his honour and 

2. The laws, which are made for the suppression of 
evil-doers, and the maintenance of good order, which 
are calculated to promote the benefit of the whole, and 
the comfort of the individual, should be religiously 

3. The government that charges itself with the sup- 
port and defence of all should have its unavoidable ex- 
penses, however great, repaid by the people, in whose 
behalf they are incurred ; therefore we should pay tri- 

But on the other hand, if Caesar should intrude into 
the things of God, coin a new creed, or broach a new 
gospel, and affect to rule the conscience while he rules 
the state ; in these things Caesar is not to be obeyed ; 
he is taking the things that are God's, and he must not 
have them. It would be as impious to give him those 
rights, . as it would be unjust to deny him his own. 
Give not, therefore, God's things to Caesar, nor Caesar's 
things to God. That which belongs to the government 
of the country should on no account whatever be devoted 
to religious uses ; and let no man suppose that he has 
pleased God, by giving that to charitable or sacred pur- 
poses which he has purloined from the state. " Render 
to Caesar the things which are Caesar's ; and unto God 
the things which are God's." 

It is added by the evangelist, " When they had heard 


these words, they marvelled," ver. 22. And well they 
might marvel : never man spake like this man. By 
this decision, — 

1 . Cesar is satisfied : — he gets his own to the utter- 
most farthing. 

2. God is glorified : — his honour is in every respect 

3. The people are edified : — one of the most difficult 
questions that could possibly come before them is an- 
swered in such a way as to relieve their consciences and 
direct their conduct. 

4. The self-righteous Pharisees, the infidel Sadducees, 
and the time-serving Herodians, equally enemies to God 
and right order, are confounded. 

5. T'e infinite wisdom of the Saviour of the world is 

6. And an excellent lesson of deep piety, profound 
political wisdom, and just dealing is left on record for 
the edification of the church of Christ to all future ge- 

On the political maxims contained in this decision of 
our Lord, the Christian church has acted in all times, 
and under the most difficult and embarrassing circum- 
stances. Our Lord's command, " Render to Caesar the 
things which are Caesar's," taught them to " give honour 
to whom honour was due, reverence to whom reverence, 
custom to whom custom, and tribute to whom tribute 
was due." They feared God ; they honoured the king, 
whether it were a Nero, the curse and scourge of the 
state, or a Titus, the darling of mankind. They re- 
spected the office, authority, and dignity, as from God ; 
and the private conduct of the ruler, when even a bad 
man, never induced them to neglect or despise the ordi- 
nance of God. They " were subject to every ordinance 
of man for the Lord's sake." " Their kingdom was not 


of this world," therefore their voice was not heard in 
the streets. "With the disaffected multitude, and in 
political commotions, they were never found. They 
loved one another ; and they loved all men, because the 
love of God was shed abroad in their hearts by the Holy 
Spirit. While others were employed by the enemy of 
mankind to sow tares in the field of the world, they, 
under the direction of the sovereign Ruler of the uni- 
verse, sowed the good seed of the kingdom. They were 
patterns of true piety, and of civil order. From the 
doctrines which they preached, and which they illus- 
trated so strikingly by their uniform conduct, sprung all 
the laws, social institutions, wise statutes, and civil cus- 
toms, by which the best and most powerful nations have 
been governed, and through which those nations became 
great and eminent. Thus has Christianity been accre- 
dited in the earth ; its doctrines have had free course, 
have run, and are glorified. The governments which 
have most influence in the world glory in the name of 
Christian ; and profess to derive their fundamental prin- 
ciples, both of law and equity, from the book of God. 
Had the genuine followers of Christ taken part in the 
different political dissensions, by which the nations 
where they have sojourned have been embroiled and 
agitated, these glorious ends, humanly speaking, had 
never been accomplished. The Christian church would 
have been a wretched grovelling thing, cooped up in 
corners, without shedding a ray of beneficence on the 
earth ; as equally unproductive of " glory to God in the 
highest" as of " peace and good will among men." We 
are authorized to speak thus, from the fall of those 
churches or individuals which, in different parts, identi- 
fied themselves with the disaffected, complained of state 
corruptions, discussed politics and not religion, and were 
soon shorn of their strength, and became like other men. 

A DISCOURSE ON MATT. XXII. 15 21. 21 i> 

To his own church, God has never intrusted the go- 
vernment of the state. When, at any time, it has put 
forth its hand in this way, it has gone out of its sphere, 
hindered its own usefulness, if not disgraced itself. The 
broad principles of civil respect, obedience, and submis- 
sion, have formed all the articles of its political creed. 
They are satisfied that the civil powers that exist are 
from God, and are exercised under his eye and govern- 
ance. They know, that " the Lord reigneth, be the earth 
never so unquiet ; and, though clouds and darkness be 
round about him, yet righteousness and judgment are 
the establishment of his throne." If his providence had 
not appointed civil legislators, the church of Christ might 
have interfered ; when they cease, it will be justified in 
taking up the sceptre, the mace, and the public purse ; 
but, as this is not likely to be while the sun and moon 
endure, therefore the true church will be excused from 
the toils of civil government, and the distractions and 
anxieties with which they are accompanied. The king's 
heart is in the hands of the Lord, and he turneth it 
whithersoever he will ; and by him do kings not only 
reign, but ministers decree judgment. Let the followers 
of the Lord know that their citizenship is in heaven. 
Let them labour for the public peace, and the honour of 
their Redeemer. Whatsoever others do, let "them 
render to Caesar the things which are Ctesar's ; and to 
God the things which are God's." Then shall their light 
shine forth as brightness, and their salvation as a lamp 
that burneth. And although not dignified by civil offices, 
nor invested with secular power, they shall come up out 
of the wilderness, leaning on the arm of God, " fair as 
the sun ; clear as the moon ; and terrible as an army 
with banners." 

k 3 



Rom. xiii. 1. 

Ov yap MJTiv i^ovaia u fir) airo Qiov' a\ St ovoai t£oveicu, viro 
rov Qtov TtTaypivai uaiv. 

" For there is no power but of God ; the powers that be, are 
ordained of God." 


The following lecture was delivered to a select academy 
of young gentlemen ; some of whom were intended for 
the church, some for the har, and some for the army. 
After its delivery several of them applied to be favored 
with the definitions and leading principles. To oblige 
them, and please the family in which the lecture was 
delivered, the whole was drawn up in its present form. 
The writer has quoted no authorities, because he had 
recourse to none. What is written is the produce of 
common sense, a general knowledge of the principles of 
just government, and a tolerable acquaintance with that 
civil constitution under which he has the happiness to 
live. To those who have no better helps to acquire just 
notions relative to subjects next in importance to those 


■which treat of the salvation of the soul, this little tract 
may be of some use.* 

This lecture has nothing to do with party politics ; 
the writer abhors them as much as he does those who 
deal in them. He proceeds both on broader and better 
principles ; and avoids agitating those questions on which 
many wise and excellent men think differently. What- 
ever has not a direct tendency to promote the peace and 
welfare of this society, he thinks unworthy of his and 
the reader's regard. He would be sorry to employ his 
time upon any work that could not take for its motto, 
" Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, and 
good- will among men." He fears God ; he honours the 
king ; he loves his country ; and in the two last respects 
yields to no man. As he reverences the king, he has 
laboured to promote his honour ; as he loves the people, 
he has studied to promote their best interests. 

Several topics relative to the same subject might have 
been incorporated, but he studied brevity ; and did not 
like to repeat here what will be found in the discourse 
on "The Rights of God and Caesar," p. 193; to which 
he must beg leave to refer the kind and intelligent 

* At the close of this paragraph the following sentence appeared, 
when the Sermon was published in 1822, in a separate form: — 
" Though founded on a text of Divine Revelation, it is neither to 
be considered in the light of a sermon, nor the lecturer in that of a 
preacher." In harmony with this, the next paragraph commenced 
with, " This pamphlet," instead of " This lecture." The " Ad- 
vertisement" bore the date of " March 17, 1821, London."— 



Before I proceed to examine the above apostolic as- 
sertions, I shall beg leave to give what I conceive to be 
a more literal translation of the original than that in 
our common version : " For there is no authority but 
from God ; the authorities that exist are arranged under 


1. The word f£ovoia, which we translate power, signi- 
fies not only the physical strength or force by which we 
do anything, but also, 

2. The liberty of doing so, without constraint ; and 
thus it is used by our Lord, John x. 17, 18 : "I lay down 
my life that I might take it again ; no man taketh it 
from me; I lay it down of myself; I have power, 
tlovmav, to lay it down ; and I have power, t£ov<nav, to 
take it again." And thus Pilate uses the term, chap, 
xix. 10 : " Knowest thou not that I have power, (£ov<riav, 
to crucify thee ; and have power, t^ovatav, to release 
thee ?" that is, I am here supreme ruler ; and have in 
my hands the power of life and death. And in this 
sense it is used by St. Paul, Rom. ix. 21 : " Hath not 
the potter power," ilovaiav, not only the physical strength 
to form a vessel, but the skill and sole liberty to make 
the clay into what form he pleases. 

3. It signifies the right of absolute disposal, which no 
other possesses, or can possess ; and is thus used by our 
Lord in his speech to his disciples, Acts i. 7, " It is not 
for you to know the times or the seasons, which the 
Father hath put in his own power ;" vq b Ilarjjp eforo tv 
Ty iSiq. tgowip, as they exist in that futurity which belongs 
to God alone ; and make a part of those secrets which 
he only can reveal. 


4. It signifies also supreme authority, such as man 
cannot possess unless given by God ; and hence it is 
used by the Jews to distinguish between the authority 
of a prophet, which was derived immediately from God, 
and that which was possessed by the common inter- 
preters of their law. Matt. rii. 28, 29 : " The people 
were astonished at his doctrine, for he taught them as 
one having authority," wq i^ovmav ixi»v, as one imme- 
diately commissioned by God, " and not as the Scribes," 
who had no authority higher than that which they had 
derived from their own rulers. 

5. It signifies delegated authority to do civil or reli- 
gious acts ; thus used by the chief priests and elders of 
the people when they questioned our Lord concerning 
his cleansing the temple, &c, Matt. xxi. 23 : " By what 
authority, iv noig. tZovmy, doest thou these things ? And 

who gave thee this AUTHORITY ?" Tr\v li,ovaiav Tavrrjv. Is 

this authority by which thou pretendest to act Divine or 
human ? Is it from God or men that thou pretendest 
to receive it ? If from men, who are they ? In this 
sense Christ gave his disciples " power, t^ovaiav, over 
unclean spirits ; and to heal all manner of diseases," 
Matt. x. 1. And in this sense, as God manifested in 
the flesh, he says, Matt, xxviii. 18, " All power, •nana 
i\ovma, is given unto me in heaven and earth." And 
therefore, he gave power to his disciples, as he is the 
sole governor of the world, to go into all the world, and 
preach his gospel to all nations. 

6. It means also civil power or authority, the right to 
govern, to dispose of provinces, the affairs of a state, &c. 
Thus arrogated by Satan, Luke iv. 5, 6, " And the devil, 
taking him up into a high mountain, showed unto him 
all the kingdoms of the world, and said unto him, All 
this POWER will I give thee," <roi Swau rr\v i^ovaiav ravrriv 


airaoav, I will make thee ruler over all these kingdoms. 
In this seTise, Galilee is said to belong to Herod's juris- 
diction, ik Trie eZovmae 'Hpu>8ov, Luke xxiii. 7, to be under 
the regal power or authority of Herod. And it is re- 
peatedly used to express those who possess supreme 
power in any place under any name ; Luke xii. 11, 
" And when they bring you into the synagogues, and 
unto magistrates and powers ;" km rag i^ovaiag, any pos- 
sessing civil jurisdiction ; see also 1 Cor. xv. 24 ; Eph. 
i. 21 ; Col. ii. 15. And see the text, where it is put 
for government, civil authority, and magistracy itself: 
" For there is no authority but from God ; the existing 
authorities (over all civil affairs), are exercised under 
God ;" he being the supreme Ruler, from whom the 
power or authority is derived. 

7. The word potestas, power, is used by the Roman 
writers exactly in the same sense. So Juvenal, Sat. x. 
ver. 99 :— 

Hujus qui trahitur, prstextam sumere mavis ; 
An Fidenarum Gabiorumque esse potettas ? 

" Wouldst thou rather have the robe (the dignity) of this man 
(Sejanus) who is dragged along, than be one of the magistrates of 
the Fideni or Gabi V 

Podestats is the title of the civil magistrates in many 
cities of Italy to the present day ; and it is repeatedly 
used to express every kind of civil power and authority, 
even that of the emperors, to which it would be easy to 
multiply examples. 

From the above definitions we learn that the word 
ilovoia used here by the apostle has, among others, the 
following prominent significations : 

1. It means mere physical force, the power or faculty 
of acting, or what is generally termed muscular strength. 


2. The liberty of acting, or the free use of this mus- 
cular strength, without restraint on the one hand, or 
compulsion on the other. 

3. It signifies that sovereign right and authority which 
God possesses, to reveal or not reveal any secrets of his 
own counsels, relative to the mysteries of redemption or 

4. It signifies that divine authority by which God 
invests some men with wisdom and understanding to 
declare his will, as prophets and apostles in reference to 
the plan of salvation. 

5. It means all civil power, or the right to govern 
men, such as that with which kings and magistrates are 


Let us inquire into the evidence and reason of these 
things. From what the apostle asserts we may infer, — 

1. That God is the fountain or source of all physical 
power and strength, which is evident from this consider- 
ation, viz., that he is the Author of being, for he is the 
Creator ; and the cause of the continuance of being, 
because he is, by his providence, the preserver. Hence 
it appears, 1. That as man is his creature, he is dependent 
upon him. 2. And that he is his subject, and account- 
able to him as his judge, for all his actions. 

2. That human liberty, choice, free-will, or the power 
of choosing or refusing, must proceed from God, is evi- 
dent from this : that he is the Creator of the soul or 
mind of man, as well as of his body ; that will, or the 
power of volition, is a faculty of the soul; and conse- 
quently its power of acting must be from him, because 
the agent or faculty in which this power is lodged de- 
rived its existence, and holds its continual being, from 
him alone : " God worketh in us to will and to do." 


The power to will is from God ; but volition is an act of 
the soul through that power. Ability to act is from 
him ; but acts themselves are of the man. Hence man 
may, and often does, abuse his power to will and to do. 

3. To every human being God has given two grand 
gifts : 1. Knowledge, understanding, or wisdom, by which 
he is capable of knowing what is right, and what is 
wrong ; what is contrary to the perfections of a mind in- 
finitely righteous, good, pure, merciful, and benevolent ; 
and what must be, from its resemblance to these perfec- 
tions, agreeable to that mind. 2. Power to do what is 
right: in other words, to fulfil the duties incumbent 
upon him in those circumstances and relations in which 
it shall please the wise Disposer of all events to place 

4. This power is of two kinds, moral and physical. 
One relates to the energies of the mind, by which duty 
and obligation are conceived, and resolutions and pur- 
poses formed ; and the other relates to muscular strength, 
by which the act of duty is performed, on which the 
mind has deliberated, and formed its resolutions : this 
belongs to the body. 

5. As in the purposes of the mind the faculties of the 
soul generally combine, and motives, objects, and ends 
incite to resolution ; so, in the performance of duty, the 
different members of the body become instruments of the 
execution of mental purposes. 

6. As by understanding, or the power of knowing, 
man gains the knowledge of things; so by their fre- 
quent occurrence he gains experience. These two qualify 
him to live usefully to himself, and profitably to his fel- 

These are the physical and moral powers which par- 
ticularly concern the subject in question. And whence 
have tbese proceeded ? Most certainly from God, and 


from God alone. No other can create ; no other can 
preserve. He is the infinite Spirit, and from him all 
mind must come. In him -we lire, move, and have our 
being ; and whether we consider the energies of the 
mind, or the muscular strength of the body, the conclu- 
sion is pressed irresistibly upon us, " There is no power 
but from God." 


But man is a degenerate and fallen being, under the 
influence of various evil passions and corrupt appetites ; 
his mind darkened by sin, and his energies enfeebled by 
indulgence in transgression — how then can he know what 
is right ; or, if found out, how can he perform it ? 

1. Here, his merciful Creator once more appears as 
signally as he did in his creation : he has given a reve- 
lation of his own will. 1. For the regulation of man's 
life, in the great duties of morality, he has given him a 
Law, which contains all the principles of justice and 
truth. 2. For the regulation of his conduct in reference 
to civil society, he has enabled him, by wisdom and ex- 
perience, to make rules, founded on the above grand 
principles, for his safety, comfort, and support in civil 
social life : which rules are generally termed civil insti- 
tutions, or laws; the grand object of which is, the 
peace, well-being, and prosperity of society at large, by 
enforcing a steady opposition to evil and injustice, and 
by affording invariable support to justice and truth. 

2. As the nature of law is to bind to observance, and 
exact obedience ; to convey privileges to the obedient, 
and to inflict punishment in case of transgression ; it is 
indispensably requisite that laws should be equal and 
impartial, neither bearing lightly nor heavily on any de- 
scription of the community ; all being equally bound to 
obey ; all being equally interested in the fruit of obedi- 


ence ; and all, in case of transgression, equally liable to 
the same disabilities, privations, or punishments. 

3. As this is the nature and end of all wholesome 
laws, it is highly expedient that, in framing them, all the 
wisdom, judgment, and experience of the parties con- 
cerned be united, that they may be as free as possible 
from imperfections, and that all may be convinced that 
they will, operate equally for the common benefit of all. 

4. When thus constructed, they should be ratified, 
proclaimed, and universally published, that none may be 
ignorant of their nature, operation, and benefit, and all 
receive them as a rule of civil and social action ; and 
thus establish them by common consent. 

5. This merciful Creator not only shows his kindness 
to men in thus furnishing them with a law of righteous- 
ness and truth, but also in freely promising them such 
assistances of his grace, that is, such a communication 
of energy from himself, by the influence of his own 
Spirit, that they shall be enabled to avoid what is evil, 
and cleave to what is good ; which assistance is to be in- 
variably communicated on the earnest application of each 
to the throne of grace by prayer and supplication : so 
that, although fallen into ignorance and weakness, men 
have the freest offers of sufficient wisdom to teach them 
and 'sufficient power to help them to do that which is 
lawful and right, both as it respects themselves and their 

6. Laws being thus made and agreed on ; in order to 
insure obedience and respect, and to keep those laws in 
due force, authority is vested in some person, whose 
duty it is to see them duly and effectually administered ; 
and who pledges himself to be governed by an oath, 
made to God, that he will rule according to these laws, 
and see them duly executed ; doing nothing by partiality 
— nothing to please any particular party, nor to increase 


his own secular interests, at the expense of the people 
whom he governs. 

7- To God, therefore, he is bound in the behalf of the 
people, to rule according to right, and in his fear ; and 
therefore to him he is accountable for his administra- 
tion ; nor can the obligation of his oath be too solemnly 
inculcated upon him, at the time in which he is invested 
with state authority ; because there may ever be found 
interested men and flatterers, who, to gain his favour 
and aggrandise themselves, will endeavour to persuade 
him that a vigour beyond the law, or a lenity below it? 
may be at particular times a useful political expedient ; 
and, if he be not conscientiously regardful of his oath, he 
may impair the constitution, and thus endanger the 
safety of the state ; for few potentates are proof against 
such interested advisers. 

8. The authority thus conveyed to a ruler comes from 
God, in the order of his providence ; is founded on the 
laws of God, from which the principles that form the 
laws of the state have been derived ; which laws have 
been framed by that wisdom and knowledge which pro- 
ceed from God : and consequently, the authority thus 
derived is from God ; and to him especially, the ruler 
is awfully responsible for the administration of justice 
and judgment among his people. 

9. This government is ordered or arranged under 
God. The laws are ever under his eye ; the ruler under 
his eye ; and the people under his eye. As God is the 
very fountain of magistracy or dominion, the king who 
rules in his fear, is his minister : the people properly 
consider him, in his regal capacity, the grand agent be- 
tween God and them ; the viceroy, lieutenant, or deputy 
of God ; acting as it were in his place, and ruling in his 
name. " The powers that be are ordered under God." 

10. The government of God in what is called provi- 


dence, is most obviously employed for the benefit of his 
creatures ; all civil governments profess at least to have 
the same object, and to keep the same end in view : and 
as God thus acts in providence, for the manifestation of 
his own glory in the happiness of his intelligent offspring; 
so the governments which are framed as above, profess 
to act in reference to the same ends ; and it is worthy 
of the most serious consideration that governments thus 
framed, and conscientiously administered, are strangely 
protected and upheld by an especial providence, so dis- 
tinctly and strongly marked, that we plainly sqe, blessed 
are the people which are in such a state ; and most evi- 
dent it is that, to such kings, God ever giveth his salva- 

He must be lost to the power of reflection, to moral 
feeling, and to gratitude to God, who cannot discern 
such a providential interference manifested in the pre- 
servation of the British nation, and in the support of the 
British king, in perilous times of long continuance, and 
dreadful occurrence. When the political world was 
shaken to its centre, and almost every throne was cast 
down, this land and its monarch stood unmoved, not by 
the vigour of its counsels, nor by the power of its fleets 
and armies, — for other nations not less vigorous, not less 
powerful, were prostrated in the struggle, — but by the arm 
of the Lord of Hosts, who heard the prayers of his peo- 
ple, respected his own institutions, and the conscientious 
regard paid to them by the man on whose head was his 
holy anointing oil. 

11. I conclude on this part of the subject, therefore, 
that as God is the fountain of dominion, authority, and 
power ; as he has given wisdom and strength to man ; 
as by his providence and mercy he supports the being he 
has given, and the attributes with which he has endowed 
it ; has instructed him by a revelation from heaven, how 


to save his soul, and form rules for the support and com- 
fort of society ; as by him kings reign, and ministers de- 
cree judgment; all are dependent upon him for their 
being, and their continued blessings ; and to him must 
the king and the people ultimately give up their ac- 


1. That civil government is of God, its great benefit 
to society, and its continuance in the world, are the 
amplest proof. Most men are impatient of government, 
while at the same time they acknowledge its general 
utility ; and, if the bridle of God were not in the jaws 
of the unruly and the profane, no civil government could 
be of long duration. And although in many govern- 
ments there are institutions far from being friendly, 
either to civil or religious liberty ; or to the comfort of 
the people ; yet they are so ordered under God, that in 
general population is increased, civil society preserved, 
and on the whole, the moral and political state of socie'y 
improved. The ancient adage says, " Man proposes, but 
God disposes." So does he arrange the affairs of the 
governments of the world, that their vitiosities are cor- 
rected or restrained under the influence of his provi- 
dence ; and what would produce nothing but moral and 
political evil if left to its own operation, is invariably 
over-ruled so as to issue in the general good. Such is 
the wisdom, such the kindness, and such the power of 
the Almighty ! 

2. Though I have not professedly touched the ques- 
tion relative to the origin of power in matters civil ; yet, 
from the preceding pages, the reader may collect an an- 
swer to it ; at least, may see the opinion which I myself 
hold on the subject. I have already shown, from the 
nature of God, and the constitution of the human being, 


that from God all physical and moral power proceeds r 
and by his energy these powers are supported. I have 
shown also, that all civil power must originate with him, 
as he is the author and upholder of those faculties by 
which wholesome laws and beneficial institutions have 
been formed for the comfort and well-being of society. 
And I have shown also that magistracy or civil domi- 
nion is in the order of his providence ; from which it 
proceeds, and by which it is maintained : and I have 
hinted that were it not of divine origin, and a part of the 
sovereign government of God, it could not exist ; as the 
fallen nature of man is ever impatient of restraint. 

3. Naturally, man despises dominion, and often speaks 
evil of dignities : and were not his physical force under 
the continued control of the Almighty, he would burst 
every bond, cast away the yoke, and break every link 
of that chain which holds civil society together. Anarchy 
would be the first effect produced by his unbridled 
powers ; confusion and rapine would follow in its train ; 
misery, desolation, and death would bring up the rear ; 
for population would be gradually thinned ; the wild 
beasts of the forest would multiply without control; 
and the last human anarchist would either be a meal for 
one of the lawless tenants of the wood, or sink upon the 
earth, none remaining to perform the last sad ceremony to 
a fallen brother. This most infallibly would be the case, 
were it not for civil government ; and this government 
could never exist, were it not of God. 

And although, in this ordination of the Most High, 
man is frequently permitted to mingle his folly, his pride, 
his ambition, and the various workings of his base pas- 
sions, with the administration of public affairs ; yet God 
so counterworks these by his superincumbent energetic 
and especial providence, that the general blessings of 
civil government are preserved in all states; and the 


anomalies which result from the desperate wickedness of 
man, become the sword, in the hand of his insulted jus- 
tice, for the chastisement of the reclaimahle, and the de- 
struction of those who have filled up the measure of their 

4. Many states have been subverted, and many forms 
of government changed, both by the wickedness of the 
people and the mal-administration of the prince : but 
still civil government, being the ordinance of God, is re- 
generated, like the phoenix, from its own ashes. With- 
out civil government (it is for this I contend) society 
cannot subsist, nor the gracious designs of God, in the 
salvation of a rebel world, be accomplished. God is its 
author, and by him it is maintained. The great mass of 
the people, it is true, possess the physical power by 
which they can bruise, and dash in pieces, and destroy ; 
but God restrains them in his mercy from accomplishing 
their own ruin. The elephant, the camel, the horse, and 
the ox, did they know their own strength, could, -with 
one blow of their proboscis, their hoof, or their horn, de- 
stroy their feeble lord, regain their independence, and 
perish in consequence : but they also are under God's 
dominion; and are dependent on each other, and on 
man, according to his will. 

5. Having seen that God is the fountain of all power, 
and that civil goverment is his own institution, it may 
be well to inquire how the different forms of this govern- 
ment arose ; what are their essential qualities ; and what 
is implied in the denominations by which they are dis- 

6. Government must have existed from the creation 
of man : it necessarily implies superiority and inferiority, 
authority and subjection ; and is founded in the natural 
state of human beings. As God created only one human 
pair to propagate their species in order to people the 


earth, the progenitor of the great human family must 
have had that authority over his immediate descendents, 
"which must necessarily spring from his priority, and their 
dependence on his counsel and support. Every human 
heing comes into the world in a state of want, weakness, 
and ignorance. It is the prerogative, as well as the duty 
of the parent, to supply this want, succour this weak- 
ness, and instruct this ignorance. These are all acts of 
government: and the receiving the supply, the help, 
and the counsel are acts of subjection; and necessarily 
imply authority in him who dispenses, as those do de- 
pendence in him who receives. 

7- Experience in the dispenser shows him how these 
helps may be communicated, so as fully to accomplish 
the end of their communication : hence he gives what 
he knows to be necessary, in that way in which his ex- 
perience tells him it will be most useful. From this 
arise conditions by which the recipient is bound; and 
his fulfilment of those conditions constitutes so far his 
obedience to the authority of his benefactor. This prin- 
ciple is at the basis of all the forms of government ever 
instituted among men. The governor has the moral and 
political authority, without which no function of govern- 
ment can be fulfilled. The governed have the physical 
power which should ever be in readiness to support and 
render respectable the authority of the governor. 


1. While the thing government, and its essential prin- 
ciples are of God, he has in general left the form to man 
These forms, and the rules according to which they are 
brought into activity, are only bye -laws connected with, 
or established on, the great principles already mentioned; 
principles which God has shown, by that true light that 
lightens every man, to the whole human race ; but par- 


ticularly illustrates by his own revelation. All men feel 
their weakness, and naturally look for assistance from 
their fellows ; they see their ignorance, and look for in- 
struction; they know they are exposed to danger, and 
are led to associate for mutual defence. 

2. The great principle of justice, as appearing in bar- 
ter and exchange, is exhibited to every man's reason. 
He sees he cannot expect to get, unless he be disposed 
to give. Every people has the maxim, however varied 
it may be in form, Gratia parit gratiam ; -one good act 
deserves another ; give, and you shall get ; love begets 
love, &c. My neighbour has what I want, and he can 
spare ; I have what he wants, and it I can spare. What 
is superfluous to one is necessary to the other ; by an 
exchange therefore of superfluities, necessities are sup- 
plied, and men become united together under civil obli- 
gations. God, in his providence, creates the superfluities 
in these cases, that the social principle may be strength- 
ened among men, and that mutual dependence may be a 
general feeling. 

3. The laws regulate and protect such exchanges; they 
promote the best civil interests of all parties — confiden- 
tial trading, upon just and equal terms, has a strong 
tendency to promote peace and good will among the 
nations. Neighbouring, or even remote countries have 
no objection to our getting rich by them, provided they 
find that their own secular interest is equally promoted. 
And it must be the object of every enlightened govern- 
ment so to trade with neighbouring states as to make it 
their interest carefully to maintain all the relations of 
peace and good will towards each other. If to this be 
added, the influence of true religion ; then the peace will 
be permanent, and wars and fightings shall cease all over 
the world. 



Talia stzcla currite ! 
Hasten, O Lord ! this happy state of things ! 

Different Forms of civil Government. 

1. Properly speaking, there can be only five legislative 
forms, essentially different from each other : patriarchy, 
theocracy, monarchy, aristocracy or oligarchy, and de- 
mocracy. But varieties of these have produced other 
denominations, viz., autocracy, tyranny, despotism, repub- 
licanism, and federalism. 

I need not wait to point out the different countries in 
the world that are under one or other of these different 
forms. Most of them exist even in Europe itself. In 
Asia and Africa, despotism and tyranny generally prevail. 
In North America, federalism, or rather republicanism, 
is prevalent. In South America, monarchy, and in 
Europe, monarchy, and federalism, or oligarchy. I 
shall define all these terms ; and by considering their 
import, we shall arrive at the nature of the different 
forms to which they are or have been applied. Except 
federalism and republicanism, all the rest are derived 
from the Greek. 



I. Patriarchal, from xarrip, a father, and ap\os, a 
chief: government by the heads of families. This ex- 
tended from the Creation to the Exodus, a period of 
about 2000 years. The only authentic history we have 
of this form of government, or the people who lived 
under it, is found in the book of Genesis. Its reason, 
and the manner of its origin, have already been pointed 
out, pp. 233, 234. 

II. Theocracy, from e £ o £ , God, and K parcu, to rule 


efficiently, from Kparoc, power: the government of the 
Jews by God himself as lawgiver, monarch, and judge. 
This form lasted from the Exodus to the advent of our 
Lord, about 2000 years ; and did not terminate, as some 
have imagined, at the election of Saul ; for the Jewish 
kings still acknowledged the theocracy ; they never made 
nor changed laws ; but ruled according to those which 
God gave ; therefore they were only the vicegerents of 
God. This form of government never existed among 
any other people than the Jews ; for they were the only 
people upon earth, previously to the Christian era, that 
ever received a revelation from God ; and the laws were 
contained in that revelation which is generally called the 
Pentateuch, or five books of Moses. 

III. Monarchy, from fiovog, alone, and apxog, a chief: 
government exercised, laws made and executed by the 
authority and will of an individual. While the Jews 
lived under a theocracy, other nations lived under a mo- 
narchy variously modified. The patriarchal excepted, 
this is the most ancient form of government, and the 
form that has most generally prevailed. The reasons for 
this have already been given. Under this form may be 
classed — 

1. Autocracy, from avrog, himself, and Kparem, I rule 
ponerfully : a government in which an individual rules 
by himself without ministry, counsel, or advice. The 
emperor of Russia is called avToicpaTtop, autocrat. Most 
of the Asiatic sovereigns, and many of the African chiefs 
are autocrats, and act up to the spirit of this form. It 
is the highest order of monarchy, and often degenerates 
into tyranny. 

2. Gynosocracy, from ywti, a woman, and Kpanui, to 
govern. This is simply a case where the male issue fails, 
and the crown descends in the female line ; but it has 
nothing in its civil constitution to distinguish it from 

L 2 


monarchy, &c. There is a ridiculous and catachrestical 
sense m which the term gynaeocracy is used, which I 
judge unnecessary to be mentioned. 

3. Despotism, from Sio-kot^, a master or lord; from 
iiaizolia, to rule, which is from deog o-ralia, to inspire fear, 
or Sua, to bind, and ttovq, the foot. Formerly despot sig- 
nified no more than master or teacher ; and in this sense 
it is frequently applied to our Lord by St. Luke. It is 
now used only in a bad sense, and frequently confounded 
with tyranny. 

4. Tyranny : of this word various etymologies have 
been given. It is supposed to have come originally airo 
Tu>v Tvppqvwv, from the Tyrrhenians, who first had an 
oppressive and cruel government ; or from rvppa, Tyrra, 
a city in Laconia, where Gyges was governor ; or from 
Tpvu>, to oppress ; or from rupta, to drain or dry by com- 
pression ; hence rvpoe, cheese, compressed milk. 

Originally the term tyranny appears to have meant no 
more than monarchy ; but the abuse, or lawless exercise 
of power, brought the words tyrant and despot to imply, 
1. A cruel and relentless governor; 2. An unreasonable 
and oppressive ruler. 

5. King, from the Saxon Cynins, which, from the Teu- 
tonic ttonnen, to know, signifies properly the knowing 
person, the wise man ; he who had the highest educa- 
tion, was well acquainted with men and things, was 
deeply versed in the study of law and justice, understood 
the state of the nation, and knew how to rule it. We 
have the remains of this word in feen, knowledge, and in 
cunning, i. e., knowing. Canny is from the same origin : 
it is repeatedly used both in Ireland and Scotland to sig- 
nify knowledge, skill, and dexterity ; the canny man is 
the knowing, skilful man— he who understands how to 
perform, and performs so as to prove his skill. Some- 
times it is equivalent to gentleman. 


IV Aristocracy, government by the nobles, from 
apuTTog, lest, the superlative of ayaOoc, good — men of title 
and estate, governing a country conjointly. Aristocracy 
generally prevails in a regency where the hereditary go- 
vernor is a minor, or under age. 

Under aristocracy may be ranked, Oligarchy, from 
oKiyoQ, a few, and apxv, government. A state in which a 
few men, whether of the nobles or plebeians, but parti- 
cularly the latter, have the supreme rule. This frequently 
prevails under revolutions, where the rightful governor 
is deposed or destroyed. 

V- Democracy, a government administered by repre- 
sentatives chosen by the people at large ; from dy/iog, the 
people, and Kparcm, to govern. 

Nearly allied to this is : — 

Republicanism, from res publica, the common wealth, 
what concerns the body politic at large. There is rather 
an affected than real difference between this and demo- 
cracy : both are of the people, though the latter pretends 
to be of a more liberal type than the former. 

Fosderalism, from fcedus, a covenant, is a form of this; 
a government framed out of several states, each having 
its own representatives, and sending them to a general 
Congress or Diet. It is constituted nearly as our British 
House of Commons ; the representatives of the different 
states being similar to those of our counties. The Pre- 
sident, while in congress, has little more power than the 
speaker in the House of Commons ; but in the interim 
of sessions, has a power similar to that of a sovereign 
monarch. A federal government may be considered a 
mixture of democracy and oligarchy : I speak of fede- 
ralism, as it appears to exist in the American States. 

VI. Anarchy, from a, privative, and apxri, rule or 
government ; where the legislative and executive power 
is acknowledged as existing nowhere, or rather equally 


in every individual ; and where, consequently, there is 
no rule ; all is confusion, every one doing what is right 
in his own eyes. This is generally the case, both before 
and for some time after most political revolutions. 

At present only three kinds of government prevail in 
the world: 1. Monarchy; 2. Aristocracy; 3. Demo- 
cracy : and these are only distinguished by being more 
or less limited by law, more or less rigid in execution, or 
more or less mild in general operation. 



Monarchy (absolute) is prompt and decisive; but 
often wrong, because the will or caprice of an individual 
commands and executes all. 

Aristocracy is slow, but generally certain : because 
the nobles enjoy superior light, and are well cultivated by 

Democracy aims well ; but is violent, indecisive, and 
fickle ; often enacts without wisdom, and executes 
without foresight ; and is generally hasty in all its mea- 

Monarchy (absolute) keeps especially in view the 
prerogatives and glory of the crown, independently of all 
other considerations. 

Aristocracy keeps in view the honour and indepen- 
dence of the nobility, being often regardless of the 

Democracy labours to bring all to a level, and keep 
it there; and frequently destroys emulation, because, 
through its jealousy of power or influence, it in effect 
discountenances profound knowledge, and high achieve- 

Neither of these forms, simply considered, is much to 
be preferred. The British government, though called a 


monarchy, differs from them all, and yet embraces them 
all. It is monarchical, and it is not. It is aristocratical, 
and it is not. It is democratical, and it is not. It con- 
sists of the three estates. It is monarchical, because it 
acknowledges a king as the supreme head : it is aristo- 
cratical in its House of Lords, where the nobles possess 
a legislative capacity : it is democratical in its House of 
Commons, where representatives chosen by the people 
possess the same power. These three estates are per- 
fectly mixed by the constitution ; they counterbalance 
each other, each having an equal legislative authority ; 
and this government possesses in itself all the excellen- 
cies of the three forms. It can become corrupt only 
when any of the three estates preponderates over the 
rest. In its nature and regular operation, it secures the 
prerogative of the monarch ; it preserves the honour and 
property of the nobility ; it respects and secures the rights 
of the people ; it is, in a word, a limited monarchy, a 
popular aristocracy, and an ennobled democracy. God 
grant it permanence, and constitutional administration ! 



All states and forms of government are liable to cor- 
ruption, and consequently to subversion. 

In cases where the monarch has corrupted his way, 
and become despotic and tyrannical, the nobles have 
arisen, deposed him from the government, and formed an 

Where the aristocracy has degenerated, and become 
oppressive to the people, they have arisen, dissolved the 
aristocracy, and formed a popular or democratic govern- 

When in a democracy, some individual has, by his 


talents and services been of singular use to the com- 
monwealth, he becomes a demagogue (from Sifios, the 
people, and ayuv, to lead), and is intrusted with military 
power. ' This power he abuses, and makes it an engine 
to raise himself to the top of government ; and thus, in 
becoming a demagogue, he soon becomes a king. 

Any of these forms may change into another. Mo- 
narchy may change into aristocracy and democracy, as 
either the nobles or the populace rebel, and succeed in 
overturning the government. 

Aristocracy may produce monarchy, by one noble gain- 
ing gradually the ascendency over the rest, and thus 
becoming king; or it may produce democracy, by the 
people rising up and destroying the nobility. 

And in the same way democracy may produce either 
monarchy or oligarchy, according as either an individual 
or a few may gain the ascendency. Properly speaking, 
democracy cannot produce aristocracy, for it cannot create 
nor confer nobility ; but it may produce oligarchy, be- 
cause a few of its own description may, by their talents 
and public services, arise to supreme rule. 

The king may become tyrannical, and be deposed. 

The nobles may become dissolute and inactive, and 
melt away. 

The people, in their representatives, may become tur- 
bulent, seditious, or corrupt, and be dissolved by their 
constituents. And any of the three estates, in their 
mixed or aggregate capacity, by trenching on the laws 
and on the constitution, may corrupt another ; and two 
by coalition may destroy the third. Thus the king and 
the nobles may enslave the people ; the people and the 
nobles may depose the king ; and the king and the repre- 
sentatives of the people may overthrow the nobility. 

Hence the necessity of a constitution ; i. e., a code of 
laws and regulations agreed on by the whole, which de- 


fines and ascertains the privileges, rites, prerogatives, 
and duties of each. 

And hence the absolute necessity of continual watch- 
fulness and jealousy, that the constitution be preserved 
in the integrity of its principles, and the efficiency of its 

While the British government watches over the con- 
stitution, and takes care to keep the three estates in legal 
counterpoise to each other ; then of it, and perhaps of it 
only, among all the governments in Europe, it may be 
said, its king is constitutional, its lords are constitutional, 
and its commons are constitutional. 

Each of these has power to originate measures, pro- 
pose new laws, or the alteration, abrogation, or emenda- 
tion of old laws ; but in the enactment all must agree. 
Should either of the estates withhold its assent, the 
measure cannot have the force of a law ; and thus the 
legislative power is supposed to be equal in each of the 
three estates. In some cases the crown and the com- 
mons do the whole business ; the lords being little more 
than counsellors or advisers. The king can proclaim 
war, but the commons alone can grant the supplies for 
its prosecution ; the lords having no influence in such a 
case, in behalf of the crown, unless supported by a 
majority of the commons. 


From this view of the governments of the world, I 
deduce the definition of government itself: A political 
administration according to an allowed constitution ; 
which orders and arranges the people of a corporation, 
city, nation, kingdom, or empire ; excites and directs 
their operations ; ascertains their duties ; protects their 
privileges, property, and rights ; and labours as well for 

l 3 


the benefit of the individual, as for the prosperity of the 
■whole. , 

Having now reviewed the different forms of govern- 
ment under which the inhabitants of the earth live, and 
seen in their names the essential principles of their 
nature ; and having seen also that government itself is an 
ordinance of God, under what form soever it be admi- 
nistered, it may be proper to consider the duty of obedi- 
ence, and the awful and destructive nature of rebellion ; 
and although these are subjects which are frequently dis- 
cussed, and perhaps with most well understood, yet a 
few general observations on such points can be neither 
unimportant nor irrelevant : — 

1. As God is the origin of power, and the Supreme 
Governor of the universe, he delegates authority to 
whomsoever he will; and though in many cases the 
governor himself may not be of God, yet civil govern- 
ment is of him ; for without this there could be no 
society, no security, no private property ; all would be 
confusion and anarchy ; and the habitable world would 
soon be depopulated. In ancient times, God, in an especial 
manner, on many occasions, appointed the individual 
who was to govern, and he accordingly governed by a 
divine right ; as in the case of Moses, Joshua, the He- 
brew judges, and several of the Israelitish kings. In 
aftertimes, and to the present day, he does that by a 
general superintending providence, which he did before 
by especial designation. In all nations of the earth there 
is what may be called a constitution — a plan by which a 
particular country or state is governed ; and this consti- 
tution is less or more calculated to promote the interests 
of the community. The civil governor, whether he be 
elective or hereditary, agrees to govern according to that 
constitution. Thus we may consider that there is a 
compact and consent between the governor and the 


governed ; and in such a case the potentate may be con- 
sidered as coming to the supreme authority in the direct 
way of God's providence : and as civil government is of 
God, who is the fountain of law, order, and regularity ; 
the civil governor, who administers the laws of a state 
according to its constitution, is the minister of God. 

2. But it has been asked, If the ruler be an immoral 
or profligate man, does he not prove himself thereby to 
be unworthy of his high office, and should he not be de- 
posed ? I answer, No ; if he rule according to the con- 
stitution, nothing can justify rebellion against his autho- 
rity. He may be irregular in his own private life ; he 
may be an immoral man, and disgrace himself by an im- 
proper conduct ; yet if he rule according to the law, if 
he make no attempt to change the constitution, nor break 
the compact between him and the people ; there is 
therefore no legal ground of opposition to his civil autho- 
rity ; and every act against him is not only rebellion, in 
the worst sense of the word, but is unlawful, and abso- 
lutely sinful. 

3. Nothing can justify the opposition of the subjects to 
the juler but overt attempts on his own part to change 
the constitution, or to rule contrary to law. When the 
ruler acts thus, he dissolves the compact between him 
and his people ; his authority is no longer binding, be- 
cause illegal ; and it is illegal, because he is acting con- 
trary to the laws of that constitution, according to which, 
on being raised to the supreme power, he promised to 
govern. This conduct justifies opposition to his govern- 
ment; but I contend, that no personal misconduct in 
the ruler, no immorality in his own life, while he governs 
according to law, can either justify rebellion against him, 
or contempt of his authority. For his political autho- 
rity, he is accountable to his people ; for his moral con- 
duct he is accountable to God and his conscience. 


4. A king may be a good moral man, and yet a weak 
and indeed a bad and dangerous prince. Pie may be a 
bad man, and stained with vice in private life, and yet 
be a good prince. Saul was a good moral man, but a 
bad prince, because he endeavoured to act contrary to 
the Israelitish constitution ; he changed some essential 
parts of that constitution; for, 1. He ruled not accord- 
ing to the laws of Moses ; 2. He did not consult the pro- 
phet and the divine oracle ; 3. He attempted to be abso- 
lute, and thus to change the whole government ; he was 
therefore lawfully deposed. James II., after he came to 
the throne, was a sober moral man, as far as I can learn, 
but he was a bad and dangerous prince. He endeavoured 
to alter and essentially change the British constitution, 
both in church and state ; therefore he was lawfully de- 
posed. It would be easy, in running over the list of our 
own kings, to point out several who were deservedly re- 
puted good kings, who in their private life were very 
immoral. Bad as they might be in private life, the con- 
stitution in their hands was ever considered a sacred de- 
posit ; and they faithfully preserved it, and transmitted 
it unimpaired to their successors, and took care, while 
they held the reins of government, to have it impartially 
and effectually administered. 

5. It must be allowed, notwithstanding, that when a 
prince, howsoever heedful to the laws, is unrighteous in 
private life, his example is contagious ; morality, banished 
from the throne, is discountenanced by the community, 
and happiness is diminished in proportion to the increase 
of vice. On the other hand, when a king governs 
according to the constitution of his realms, and has his 
heart and life governed by the laws of God, he is then a 
double blessing to his people ; while he is ruling carefully 
according to the laws, his pious example is a great means 
of extending and confirming the reign of pure morality 


among his subjects. Vice is discredited from the throne ; 
and the profligate dare not hope for a place of trust and 
confidence, however in other respects he may be quali- 
fied for it, because he is a vicious roan. 

6. But still it is utterly unlawful to rebel against a 
ruler, who, though he may be incorrect in his moral 
conduct, yet rules according to the laws. Even a sus- 
pension of any part of the constitution for a time, which 
should never be resorted to except in cases of the most 
dire necessity, is not an alteration of the constitution ; 
for a temporary suspension of activity is not a destruc- 
tion of being ; and there may be several operations of 
the executive government which may appear, to those 
who are little acquainted with state affairs, as encroach- 
ments on the constitution, when in fact they are not. 
Men should not therefore begin hastily to quarrel with 
their rulers, because they conceive they are doing some- 
thing not constitutionally sound. Reasons of state, even 
of the soundest kind, are not easily comprehended ; and 
no man can judge of a part, who is not thoroughly 
acquainted with the whole. It is very absurd for men 
to talk against the measures of a government, who know 
nothing of the science of law or jurisprudence; and 
perhaps scarcely a tittle of that constitution under which 
they live, from which they derive their civil blessings, 
and the trenching on which they so passionately deplore ! 
It is not those who understand the subject best who are 
loudest in their complaints. But surely in politics, as 
in all other sciences, none should be thought worthy of 
attention who are ignorant of the subject on which they 

7- While I venerate the constitution, and would feel 
it my duty to warn the public against any man or men 
who would attempt to change or impair it, I feel it an 


equal duty to inculcate subordination to the civil power, 
and the.propriety and expediency of submitting to every 
ordinance of man for God's sake. What is due to Cassar 
and what is due to God, I have elsewhere shown. (See 
the discourse entitled, " The rights of God and Caesar," 
p. 193.) In all civil matters Cassar is to be obeyed; in 
all things that pertain to religion, God alone is to be 
obeyed. " Should the civil power attempt to usurp the 
place of the Almighty, and forge a new creed, or pre- 
scribe rites and ceremonies not authorized by the word 
of God, no Christian is bound to obey." Yet even in 
this extreme case, none is authorized to rebel against the 
civil power. The true Christian must bear the persecu- 
tion ; and if needs be, seal the truth with his blood, and 
thus become a martyr of the Lord Jesus ; and this has 
been the invariable practice of the genuine church of 
Christ. In no case, even under the severest persecution, 
did they ever feel themselves justified to rise against the 
state ; they overcame, not by carnal weapons, but "by the 
blood of the Lamb and their testimony." They suffered 
for well-doing, and committed their cause to him who 
judgeth righteously. I speak not of nominal Chris- 
tians ; — from truly religious people no state has anything 
to fear ; from the irreligious and the profane every kind 
of danger may be fairly apprehended; therefore the 
profligate should be discountenanced, and the good en- 


From what has been said we may collect the following 
aphorisms on power, authority, the duty of the prince, 
and the duty of the people ; and lay down some maxims 
relative to government in general. 

1. All power, physical and moral, is from God. 


2. The powers of which he is the author hy creation, 
he supports and maintains by his energy and provi- 

3. He has instituted civil government for the comfort 
and happiness of man. 

4. He has shown, either by his Spirit enlightening 
the mind, or by the Holy Scriptures, or by both, the 
great fundamental principles of justice and truth ; and 
has taught men to distinguish right from wrong, and 
good from evil. 

5. According to these principles, all systems of govern- 
ment profess to be formed ; and on examination, we 
shall find that they all partake less or more of these 

6. God has left the particular form by which differ- 
ent nations are governed, entirely to themselves, having 
in no case prescribed one, except in that of the Israel- 

7. God is the governor of the universe ; all dominion 
is under him, and kings and rulers of all kinds are only 
his deputies, and must account to him for their adminis- 

8. Of all forms of government, that which provides 
the greatest portion of civil liberty to the subject, must 
be most pleasiDg to God, because most like his own. 

9. Where either the mind or body is enslaved, and 
the caprice of the ruler takes the place of law and 
justice, there the government is not of God; for he will 
never, and can never, approve of that species of domi- 
nation where the life, liberty, and property of the sub- 
ject lie at the will, and are disposed of by the caprice, 
of the ruler. 

10. Such governments, under what form soever they 
may be administered, never have been and never can be, 
permanent; the physical power, after surfering awhile , 


has risen up and destroyed them ; and even where the 
same form continues to exist, which permits the ruler to 
exercise such power, the ruler himself is seldom gathered 
to his fathers sicca morte. Witness the despotic govern- 
ments of Asia and Africa, and the general fate of their 

11. As every nation is left by the providence of God 
to choose its own form of civil government, so it has the 
right to change, alter, and amend that form, and its 
general constitution, when its different authorities agree, 
and think it expedient. And they never can agree in 
any change that does not lead to improvement ; for it is 
absurd to suppose that a whole state would sit down and 
deliberate how to make their civil condition worse. 

12. No state has any right to interfere with the form 
of government adopted by another, or to dictate what 
form it shall receive. If a conduct of this kind should 
once be acknowledged a right anywhere, it must neces- 
sarily be a right everywhere; and on this ground the 
peace of the world would be speedily at an end, for 
every fool and knave would be meddling. 

Attempts of this kind, made by any state, should be 
eyed with jealousy by all the civilized governments of 
the earth ; as they always show an assumption of illegal 
authority, and a determination to prevent the meliora- 
tion of the civil state of mankind. Such attempts, it is 
true, can be made only by arbitrary and despotic govern- 
ments, whose interest it is to prevent the diffusion of the 
benefits of just and equal laws, and the establishment of 
civil rights among all orders of the community. 

Britain, in all her conquests, while she has freely 
offered the benefits of her unrivalled Constitution to the 
people brought under her dominion, has uniformly per- 
mitted those who preferred them to live according to 
their own civil and religious usages; and has taken 


sacred care to defend and support them in the free and 
full exercise of their own institutions. 

13. Of all the forms of government which have ob- 
tained in the world, monarchy has been the most general ; 
not because it is the most easy and obvious, but because 
it is more like the divine administration ; and, therefore, 
in the course of God's providence, it has been most 
nourished and supported by him. 

14. It is not according to nature, nor apparently ac- 
cording to reason, that millions should place their lives 
and properties under the dominion of one like to them- 
selves ; and yet this has most generally obtained in all 
nations of the earth, and has been, on the whole, the 
most permanent and the most beneficial mode of govern- 
ment ever instituted or exercised among men. 

15. Every ruler, professing to hold his right from God, 
should endeavour to the uttermost of his power to imi- 
tate God, by justice, righteousness, truth, clemency, and 
a paternal care for the prosperity of his subjects. 

16. A king should have no favourites ; should drive 
away all flatterers ; and never deliver himself into the 
hands even of his own ministers, to be ruled by them. 
Nothing injures the credit of a ruler so much in the eyes 
of his subjects as the appearance of being governed by 
his own servants ; as it shows a want of confidence in 
himself, which should never appear, or a want of paternal 
attention to his people, which should never exist. 

17- A prudent king should always acquaint himself 
with the real state of his people ; and examine closely 
the conduct of his servants, that they may not act un- 
constitutionally ; and be ready to remove those from his 
person and counsels who, by their mal-administration, 
have given just cause of offence to the people. 

18. A general expression of dissatisfaction is not to 
be disregarded, as it always is founded, less or more, on 


sound reason : apparent disregard irritates the com- 

19. In certain cases something should be sacrificed 
even to popular caprice ; if the measures be good, and 
the people mistaken, the obnoxious inefficient agents 
should be removed ; for the same measures may be pur- 
sued though the men be changed. And as everything 
has two handles, even a good measure may be rendered 
offensive, or inefficient, by the injudicious manner in 
which it is executed. But it is as dangerous to a state 
to regard popular clamours as it is to disregard the con- 
stitutional remonstrances of the people. 

20. In no case should life be sacrificed to popular fury 
or political resentment ; there have been state and mili- 
tary executions in England which have fixed an indelible 
stain up a. the nation. 


1. Where a public debt has already been contracted 
on the credit of the state (no matter now how that debt 
has been incurred), it must be discharged ; and till de- 
frayed the interest must be duly paid. If the debt be 
vast, the interest must be in proportion ; and taxation is 
the only means to which a nation can constitutionally 
resort to liquidate such debt, or pay the interest. That 
this must press heavily, if the debt be great, needs no 
demonstration. In such a case, to prevent as much as 
possible all just cause of complaint, state prudence and 
economy are indispensably necessary. But the principle 
that binds an honest man to make good his engagements ' 
equally binds a nation ; and such public burdens must 
be borne by the public. 

2. It is possible that such oppressive debts may have 
been the consequence of mal-administration ; and the 
authors of expensive wars the grand causes of public 


debts, burdens and miseries may be execrated ; but still 
the principle recurs ; the debt is contracted, the credit of 
the nation is at stake ; the debt must be paid, and by 
taxes alone can this payment be made. 

3. Taxes on the necessaries of life should be avoided 
as much as possible. They are painfully felt by the poor, 
and comparatively poor, whose minds are thereby em- 
bittered against the government. 

4. By heavy taxation the comforts of life are greatly 
abridged. In this country our forefathers enjoyed more 
of these than their posterity ; some classes now more of 
the luxuries than they did. Exorbitant taxation, while 
it abridges the comforts and conveniences of life in the 
middle classes, attacks the necessaries of life among the 
lower classes. This is a circumstance to which few of 
the ministers of Europe appear to pay attention. 

5. The mode of assessing and levying the taxes is 
often very vexatious. Even the tax-papers, schedules, &c, 
are injudiciously framed ; they are obscurely expressed, 
are liable to misconstruction, and the language is in some 
cases irritating ; they do not become a free government. 
While the king acts as the father of his people, and the 
spirit of the laws is mild and tolerant, tax-papers are 
framed, and tax- surveyors, and tax-gatherers, act as if 
they had issued from the despotism of Russia or China. 
The principle of loyalty in Great Britain has suffered 
more from these causes than from the taxes themselves. 
Insolent surveyors, unconstitutional demands, vexatious 
surcharges, ineffectual appeals to the commissioners for 
relief, have soured, and are souring, the minds of the 
people. That surveyor who, by vexatious surcharges, 
raises the tax-produce of his district at the expense of 
the loyal feeling of the people, and to his own vast 
emolument, is au enemy to the state, and a public 


6. The mode of assessing, and gathering the taxes, 
has produced more of that disaffection which is called 
radicalism, in certain counties, than all other causes 
besides. It is insinuated by some that the officers have 
the orders of government for this provoking severity ; 
this is a dangerous libel on the state and its ministers, 
and the authors of the insinuation should be traced out 
and punished. 


1. Loyalty {Joyaute) signifies attachment and obedi- 
ence to the laws ; the laws require attachment and obe- 
dience to the prince whom they invest with supreme 
authority. It is treason against the prince to depress 
him below the laws ; it is treason against the constitution 
to raise him above them. This definition is necessary : 
for' few persons seem to know what loyalty means. He 
who breaks the king's laws, would break the king's neck 
if it stood in the way of his lawless conduct. The law 
makes the king ; the king guards and executes the law ; 
and a good subject loves, obeys, and supports both. 

2. As it is the duty of the ruler to protect, watch 
over, and defend his people ; so it is the duty of the 
people to venerate, love, defend, and obey their prince. 
" Thou shalt not speak evil of the ruler of thy people," 
is a command of God ; which, if it bind in reference to 
any kind of ruler, must be much more obligatory where 
the constitution is sound, the laws good, and the ruler 
one who acts according to the constitution; and who 
takes care, by the appointment of the most learned and 
judicious officers, to have the laws duly executed. 

3. It is an awful thing to endanger and disturb the 
public peace ; hence all good subjects, and men who fear 
God, should avoid everything that leads to popular dis- 
affection. If those who have the physical power get 


wrong, and swallow the bit of constitutional authority, 
they are a mighty sweeping wind that overthrows all 
things ; or an overwhelming flood, by which themselves 
and their property must be swallowed up in the vortex 
which is formed by their own resistless stream. A neigh- 
bour may be a bad or oppressive man ; the cognizance 
of his conduct belongs to the state, or to the civil magis- 
trate. Do not encourage those who meditate his over- 
throw ; fire has no eyes ; and the flame which consumes 
his dwelling will most likely reduce your own to ruins. 

• jam Deiphobi dedit ampla ruinam 

Vulcano superante domus : jam proximus ardet 


The palace of Dei'phobus ascends 

In smoky flames : then catching on his friend's 

Ucalegon burns next. 

4. Of all the civil constitutions under heaven, the 
British is demonstrably the best. It has been long tried, 
and stood the rudest tests. The lapse of ages tends 
only to invigorate and render it more effective. It is, 
through its excellence, under God, that an inconsiderable 
island has acquired the resources, energy, and strength 
of the mightiest continental empire. It is the object of 
God's most peculiar care, because it is most like his own 
administration. It is an honour to be born under it ; a 
blessing to live under it ; and a glory to defend and sup- 
port it. It is like that mighty tree described by the 
prophet, widely diffused in its roots, and vast in its stem : 
its branches are spread over all the earth, and under 
them fowl of every wing find shelter. It is the envy of 
the nations of the world, and should be the boast of its 
own sons. God alone can overthrow it; but he will 
not destroy the work of his own hands. It is the nur- 
sery of everything pure in religion; sound in policy; 
good in law ; wise in counsel ; deep in learning ; and 


sublime in science ; and, let its enemies know it, resist- 
less in might! Britons, value your privileges, guard 
your constitution, and protect your king ; your constitu- 
tion and your monarchy are inseparable — they stand or 
fall together; and public happiness flourishes or fades 
with them. 

5. As God only can deprive you of these, while you 
prize and hold them fast, fear, love, and obey him, that 
he may not, in judgment, deprive you of his mercies. 

6. Ingratitude for favours received is the sure way to 
close the hand of divine and human benevolence. And 
if ingratitude forfeit, what must be the case with re- 
bellion ! 

7- It is easier to unsettle than to establish ; to pull 
down, than to build up. Your own constitution required 
a thousand years to bring it to its present perfection ; 
were it destroyed, it would require three thousand to 
produce one better. 

8. He who knows it best, loves it most ; and he who 
loves and prizes it will take pains, at all proper times, 
to teach his children, his servants, his friends, and his 
neighbours, that their own civil and religious institutions 
are preferable to those of any other nation under heaven ; 
and that, in the affairs of religion and civil government, 
they are not likely to better their condition by changing 
their country. 

9. Though some parts of the constitution may, from 
time to time, by mal-administratiou, be corrupted, yet 
the body politic, like the healthy body physical, has 
power to subdue the corrupting principle by the energy 
of its operations, or to purge it off by the vigour of its 
own vital principle. 

10. He who does anything to alienate the people's 
minds from their loyalty to their king, and attachment to 
the constitution of their country, is worse than a public 


incendiary : this destroys only houses and furniture ; 
that saps the foundation of the throne, and the constitu- 
tion too, and brings on desolation and death. 

11. Rebellion and tyranny are equal abominations. 
The governor and the governed are held by mutual ob- 
ligations. It is as great a crime in the sight of God and 
justice for a government to oppress, as it is for the sub- 
jects to rebel. The governor and the subject should 
have no separate interests ; what injures the one hurts 
the other ; and the prosperity of the first necessarily 
involves the happiness of the second. Obligations on 
both sides ought to be equally balanced ; and both should 
feel that, without the other, it is nothing. Reason and 
common sense say, that the king and the subject are two 
friends, bound together by the strongest ties, whose 
hands should never be unclasped. The king's honour 
and safety consist in his ruling his subjects well ; and it 
is their interest and happiness faithfully to obey him. 

12. To conclude, rebellion is no cure for public evils ; 
and a revolution in a free state will in all probability 
make it worse. He who wishes to excite you to either 
is a bad man ; and, most assuredly, your enemy. You 
have still something to lose, though he may have no- 
thing ; and you stand on a good foundation ; hold fast 
what you have, and stand firm. Let each take the 
advice of the wisest of men, and cultivate the sentiment 
among his neighbours : " My son, fear thou the Lord, 
and the king ; and meddle not with them that are given 
to change ;" Prov. xxiv. 21. 



Colossians i. 27, 28. 

27. O'iq rjOiXtjinv 6 Qtog yvtopioai, rig 6 irXovrog tjjc doZqg 


r) tk7Tig rtjg Soils' 

28. 'Ov riling KarayyiWo/iev, vov9erovvrtg Travra avOponrov, 
xai SidaUKOvreg Travra avOpwrrov tv iraay Gotyiq, iva Trapaartj- 
(tu>hiv Travra av6pu>irov TtXtiov tv Xptffry 'Ir/aov. 

27. " To whom God would make known what is the riches of 
the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles ; which is Christ in 


28. " Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every 
man in wisdom ; that we may present every man perfect in 
Christ Jesus." 

The Jews firmly believed that, in the fulness of time 
(i. e., the time which God saw would be the most proper 
to make these counsels of his mercy known), the Mes- 
siah, the peculiarly Anointed of God, should appear 

* This, as well as the thirty-first sermon in this collection, was 
published separately, and circulated in a similar way, *as there 
noticed. It was entitled "The Sum and Substance of St. Paul's 
Preaching, exhibited in a Discourse on Col. i. 27, 28. Preached 
in Lerwick, June 18, 1820. By Adam Clarke, LL. D., F. A. S., 

A DISCOURSE ON COL. I. 27, 28. 259 

among them ; restore the purity and original integrity of 
the divine worship ; deliver them out of the hands of 
their enemies ; and make them the greatest nation under 
heaven ; and that all others should be either cut off, or 
become their tributaries. But they also believed, that 
whatever spiritual and temporal blessings should come 
by this Messiah should be confined to the Jews alone ; 
and that no part of the spiritual and secular salvation of 
this glorious Personage should ever be the lot of any 
people in the Gentile world. All salvation, they con- 
cluded, should be the exclusive property of the Jews ; 
and that all Gentiles were shut out of the covenant of 
God for ever. 

Such is the spirit of monopolizing man ; not only in- 
dividuals, but whole nations, presuming that they are 
the choicest favourites of heaven ; and that for all others 
the great Creator has neither compassion nor regard. 
But in vain do men of dark and narrow minds set limits 
to the benevolence of Him " who causes his sun to shine 

&c. London : Joseph Butterworth and Son, 1827." The dedi- 
cation differed from that of its predecessor : 




the zetland isles, 
and particularly to the members of the 
Methodists' societies 

in those islands, 
this discourse 



And the sermon itself, at the close, and as if written there, was 
dated, "Lerwick, Zetland Isles, June 18, 1826." — Editor. 


upqji the evil and the good, and sends his rain upon the 
just and unjust." No such bounds as the land of Pales- 
tine could encompass the bounty and compassion of that 
God, whose name is Mercy, and whose nature is love. 
Is he the God of the Jews only ? Is he not also the 
God of the Gentiles ? From the beginning, he consi- 
dered the whole mass of human beings as equally lost 
and undone : none had peculiar claims on him who has 
no partialities. He purposed, therefore, to send his Son 
into the world, to taste death for every man ; for he was 
to come not to condemn the world, but that the world 
through him might be saved. Even while Abraham, 
their great father, was a Gentile, and in uncircumcision, 
God made the covenant with him, that " in his seed all 
the nations and families of the earth should be blessed." 
Therefore, the salvation of God was originally designed 
for the Gentiles ; and as this dispensation of mercy 
must begin somewhere, it was most natural that it should 
commence with the nearest descendents of him with 
whom the covenant was made. 

For two thousand years the posterity of his grandson 
Jacob, called the twelve tribes of Israel, were the only 
people among whom God manifested himself by mighty 
works, and by giving that revelation of his will, which 
still remains in what is called the Old Testament : and 
the people with whom the covenant was made received 
the sign of circumcision, to notify that they were conse- 
crated to the service of God, and that they were his 
church. As this rite was not enjoined to any othei 
nation, it was presumed that God had no other church 
and people, and that the Jews alone were the family oi 
the Most High ; for God had not as yet revealed his 
purpose of calling the Gentiles into his family, and 
making them partakers of his favour, equally with th( 
children of Jacob. This purpose was a mystery, a thine 

A DISCOURSE ON COL. I. 27, 28. 261 

hidden in the knowledge of the Lord, which was not to 
be fully revealed till the advent of the Messiah. And 
although this was intimated to Peter in the vision of the 
" sheet descending from heaven full of clean and unclean 
beasts," Acts x. ; yet it was to Paul alone that " by di- 
vine revelation was made known the mystery, that the 
Gentiles should be made fellow-heirs with the Jews, and 
of the same body, and partakers of the promise of Christ 
by the gospel ;' and he was in consequence " to make 
known to all men, both Jews and Gentiles, the fellow- 
ship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the 
world had been hidden in God ;" i. e., that intimate as- 
sociation of Jews and Gentiles in one body or church ; 
and their agreement in that glorious mystery, which by 
the gospel was so fully opened, relative to the salvation 
of both, see Eph. iii. 1 — 9. The same subject the 
apostle takes up here in the text and context, stating his 
divine call to "make known the mystery which had 
been hidden from ages and generations, but now is made 
manifest to the saints," Col. i. 25 — 26 ; i. e., to all who 
formed the then Christian church, whether Jews or 
Greeks; and to this newly-formed church, and the 
apostles, by whose ministry its members were converted 
to God, he would make known "what is the riches of 
the glory of this mystery," i. e., how abundantly glorious 
this gospel was among the Gentiles, as well as the Jews ; 
justifying and sanctifying both, while the apostles called 
them all equally to believe in Christ, that they might 
receive remission of sins, and an inheritance among the 
saints in light, by faith in him. 

Every denomination of Christians allows. 1. That 
the apostles were men divinely inspired. 2. That they 
knew the truth as it was in Jesus. 3. That they faith- 
fully preached that truth. 4. That it was that truth, 
then preached, that God blessed to the conversion of 

m 2 

262 apostolic preaching; 

Jews and Gentiles. And it follows from this, 5. That 
they who preach the same doctrine, and in the same 
way, are they by whom God will carry on the work of 
conversion in the world, and build up his church as long 
as sun and moon endure. 

We know that many things are implied in apostolic 
doctrine ; and we generally agree, that the sentiments of 
the apostles are to be gathered out of their writings. 
But in collecting these doctrines, what a variety of 
creeds have men made ! How different in most cases, 
and how contradictory in others ! Does, then, the 
trumpet of the apostles give an uncertain sound? If 
not, whence come those conflicting opinions by which 
the church of God has often been distracted, and Chris- 
tians separated from each other ? This may be easily 
answered. They have not come to the apostles for their 
creed : they have first formed their own creed, and then 
they came to the apostolic writings to get it sanctioned ! 
And as they presumed the basis of their own creed was 
sound and indisputable, they endeavoured to find pas- 
sages to support it; and where passages could not be 
found, they took words, often dismembered from their 
fellows, and out of connexion in their new association, 
from that in which they stood in an apostle's discourse ! 
Is there a creed, either ancient or modern, that can be 
wholly freed from this imputation ? Is it any wonder, 
then, that creeds are so various, and, in many respects, 
so contradictory ? and must not this continue to be the 
case till a simpler method is pursued ? 

Do not the sacred writers often sum up their own 
doctrine on particular and special points in a single 
verse ? If so, should not such portions be carefully se- 
lected, where this is evidently the case ; and the creed 
on that subject be formed from such portions ? This is 
reasonable. Next to the being of a God, infinite, eternal 

A DISCOURSE ON COL. I. 27, 28. 263 

perfect, and good, which is the basis of all true religion; 
and the incarnation and death of the Messiah, which is 
the basis of the Christian religion, is this : What and 
how should men preach, in order to enlighten and save 
a darkened and lost world? The answer should be, 
" Consult St. Paul ; take him for your model." Suppose 
I should be asked, " Where is that epitome of his doc- 
trine and manner of preaching of which you have 
spoken ; that I may form my preaching on this model ?" 
I, without a moment's hesitation, answer, In the words 
of my text ; there the apostle tells us what, how, and 
for what end he preached : " Christ in you the hope of 
glory ; whom we preach, warning every man, and teach- 
ing every man in all wisdom ; that we may present every 
man perfect in Christ Jesus." 

From these words I shall take occasion to show, — 

I. What was the sum and substance of the apostle's 
preaching : " Christ in you the hope of glory." 

II. What was the manner or way in which he 
preached: "Warning every man, and teaching every 
man in all wisdom." 

III. What was the end for which he thus preached : 
"That he might present every man perfect in Christ 

I. It appears from the apostle's own declaration here, 
that the sum, and substance of his preaching was Christ, 
or, as it should always be translated, the Christ, Xpiaros, 
or 6 XpioToe, whether with or without the article ; as it 
invariably answers to rwon ka-Mashiach, "the Mes- 
siah ;" both words meaning literally, " The anointed One" 
— the Personage specially appointed by God for the per- 
formance of a work, in reference to which the Supreme 
Being has modelled and conducted his gracious and 

264 apostolic preaching; 

providential government of the world for about four 
thousand years. 

As the rite of anointing with oil was used in all pri- 
mitive times to induct the highest officers into their 
respective employments; and was, among the ancient 
worshippers of the true God, an emblem of those gifts 
and graces without which they could not discharge 
them; and as God was ever considered the fountain 
from which all truth, wisdom, righteousness, and holi- 
ness must proceed ; the person thus anointed was consi- 
dered as receiving from God every necessary gift and 
grace. The prophet was anointed, to show that, without 
the spirit of wisdom, he could neither predict things or 
events which concerned the future, nor teach the people 
the good and the right way. The priest was anointed, 
to show that, without the spirit of holiness, he could 
not discharge the sacred office with which he was in- 
vested. The king was anointed, to show that he could 
not administer the laws righteously, nor dispense justice 
and judgment impartially, unless guided and influenced 
by the Divine Spirit. 

These anointings were at once the proof of their ap- 
pointment and investiture, and the evidence of their 
qualifications for the work that God had called them to 
do. There were many prophets, many priests, and many 
kings, thus inducted; some were priests and kings; 
some were prophets and priests ; but it has been properly 
remarked, that no man was ever prophet, priest, and 
king. Jesus, the Messiah, alone sustained the three- 
fold character and office. Hence no man was ever called 
rwon ha-Mashiack, or 6 Xpi<rr £, the anointed one, but 
Jesus himself. He alone was the Prophet ; he alone the 
Priest ; and he alone the King ; and these offices he still 

This divine Personage was the grand subject of the 

A DISCOURSE ON COL. I. 27, 28. 265 

apostle's preaching ; and to preach him as the Christ or 
Messiah, he must point out mho he was, what he said, 
what he did, and what was done to him. Now all this 
he did amply and faithfully. 1 . He represents him as 
" the brightness of the Father's glory, and the express 
Image of his Person," Heb. i. 3. As being " God over 
all, and blessed for evermore," Rom. ix. 5. " The blessed 
and only Potentate," 1 Tim. vi. 15. As the Creator of 
all things : " For by him were all things created that are 
in heaven and that are in earth, visible and invisible, 
whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, 
or powers ; all things were created by him, and for him, 
and he is before all things ; and by him all things con- 
sist," Col. i. 16, 17- And "in him (says he) dwelt all 
the fulness of the Godhead bodily," Col. ii. 9. I need 
not multiply testimonies; there are many scattered 
through the apostle's writings, which are of the same 
kind as the above. 

As to what Christ said, he shows at large that he 
himself was converted to the truth of the gospel by the 
words of Christ, spoken in a miraculous way to him, 
when he was going to Damascus with the design of per- 
secuting the Christians unto death, and extinguishing, if 
he possibly could, the whole light of the gospel. And 
what concerns us more is, that, being converted to the 
truth, he received a commission, immediately from Christ 
himself, " to preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable 
riches of Christ," Eph. iii. 8 ; for Christ sent him " to 
open their eyes, to turn them from darkness to light, 
from the power of Satan unto God, that they might re- 
ceive the remission of sins, and an inheritance among 
them that are sanctified by faith in him," Acts xxvi. 18. 
As, therefore, he was a preacher of God's own choice 
and making, he must be the model of all Christian mi- 
nisters. His matter or doctrine was all divine ; and his 

266 apostolic preaching; 

mode of treating it, that which he received from the 
continual agency of the Holy Spirit on his understanding 
and heart. Add to all this, he diligently taught that 
"Christ came into the world to save sinners" — that "he 
was delivered for our offences, and raised again for our 
justification" — that " we have redemption in his blood" 
— that "he tasted death for every man" — and that "he 
saves to the uttermost all that come to God by him." 
In short, he preached Christ the only sacrifice for sin — 
that "salvation is by grace through faith" — for "all 
have sinned and come short of the glory of God ;" — that 
" he died the just for the unjust, that he might bring us 
to God" — and that, to accomplish this end, he suffered 
various indignities from the Jews, was buffeted, scourged, 
crucified, died on the cross, lay for a time under the 
power of death, rose the third day, ascended to heaven, 
sent down the Holy Spirit in its various gifts and graces, 
who convinces men of sin, righteousness, and judgment, 
and has promised to be with his followers to the end of 
the world. 

But he not only preached what Christ had done for 
men, but also what he would do in them; — that he 
should make their " bodies temples of the Holy Ghost," 
— that " Christ should dwell in their hearts by faith," — 
that " they should be rooted and grounded in love, and 
comprehend with all saints what was the breadth, and 
length, and depth, and height, and know the love of 
Christ, which passeth knowledge, and be filled with all 
the fulness of God" — and assures us, that he is able " to 
do exceeding abundantly, above all that we can ask or 
think, according to the power that worketh in us," Eph. 
iii. 16, 20. In short, he proclaimed him as Prophet, 
Priest, and King ; and as a complete Saviour from all 
the power of all sin ; from all the guilt of all sin ; and 
from all the in-being and defilement of all sin ; and by 

A DISCOURSE ON COL. I. 27, 28. 26/ 

thus saving us, he prepares us for and gives us a title to 
eternal glory. " We (says he) preach Christ in you the 
hope of glory ;" for without Christ there is neither glory, 
nor a hope of glory, for any son of man. Some contend 
that iv iifiiv, "in you," should be translated "among 
you :" it means both. He was among them as an object 
of their faith and hope : — he was among them to make 
the preaching of his word effectual to the salvation of 
the hearers. The Holy Spirit bearing testimony to every 
believing heart, he had his residence there, as an in- 
dwelling sanctifying Comforter. 

Many talk much, and indeed well, of what Christ has 
done for us : but how little is spoken of what he is to 
do in us ! And yet all that he has done for us, is in 
reference to what he is to do in us. He was incarnated, 
suffered, died, and rose again from the dead ; ascended 
to heaven, and there appears in the presence of God for 
us. These were all saving, atoning, and mediating acts 
for us; that he might reconcile us to God; that he 
might blot out our sin; that he might purge our con- 
sciences from dead works ; that he might bind the strong 
man armed — take away the armour in which he trusted, 
wash the polluted heart, destroy every foul and abomina- 
ble desire, all tormenting and unholy tempers ; that he 
might make the heart his throne, fill the soul with his 
light, power, and life ; and, in a word, destroy the works 
of the devil. These are done in us, without which we 
cannot be saved unto eternal life ; but these acts done 
in us are consequent on the acts done for us ; for had 
he not been incarnated, suffered afld died in our stead, 
we could not receive either pardon or holiness : and did 
he not cleanse and purify our hearts, we could not enter 
into the place where all is purity ; for the beatific vision 
is given to them only who are purified from all unright- 
eousness ; for it is written, " Blessed are the pure in 




heart, for they shall see God." Nothing is purified by 
death : nothing in the grave : nothing in heaven. The 
living stones of the temple, like those of that in Jerusa- 
lem, are hewn, squared, and cut here, in the church mili- 
tant, to prepare them to enter into the composition of the 
church triumphant. All the work must be done in the 
soul on earth, that is necessary to prepare it for heaven. 
Of all this, the temple of God in Jerusalem was a very 
lively type : " And the house, when it was in building, 
was built of stone made ready before it was brought 
thither : so that there was neither hammer, nor axe, nor 
any tool of iron, heard in the house while it was build- 
ing," 1 Kings vi. 7- And to this St. Peter alludes, " Ye 
also as lively stones," o»e \iOoi Z&vtiq, as living stones, in- 
stinct with the living spirit of the living God, " are built 
up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spi- 
ritual sacrifices, acceptable to God, by Christ Jesus," 
1 Pet. ii. 5. Thus did Paul preach Christ , and thus did 
Christ dwell in and among the people, under Paul's 

And wherever Christ is preached in the same way, 
the same influences will attend the preaching, and the 
same effects be produced under it. For, as there is no 
other Saviour but Jesus, so Jesus saves men by deliver- 
ing them from their sins, and subjecting them to him- 
self. As Jesus, he saves ; as Christ, he anoints ; as 
Lord or King, he reigns in and over his people, subject- 
ing eveiything to the mild sway of the sceptre of right- 

And it is in reference to this holiness and the heaven 
for which it prepares the soul, that the apostle adds, the 
hope of glory, we preach, " Christ in you, the hope of 
glory." For, as it was the design of the gospel to put 
men in possession of the spirit and power of Christ ; to 
make them partakers of the divine nature, and thus pre- 

A DISCOURSE ON COL. I. 27, 28. 269 

pare them for an eternal union with himself; so he 
preached this present indwelling Christ as the hope of 
glory ; for no man can rationally hope for glory, who has 
not the pardon of his sins, and whose nature is not sanc- 
tified. And none can have pardon but through the 
blood of his cross ; and none can have glorification but 
through the in-dwelling sanctifying spirit of Christ. 

II. But let us now observe the manner of the apostle's 
preaching : " Warning every man, and teaching every 
man in all wisdom." 

By every man, we are to understand, all that came 
under the apostle's ministry : the Jews and the Gentiles ; 
for into those two grand classes were all human beings, 
at this time, divided. 

1. He warned them, — Proved that both Jews and 
Gentiles were under sin ; in a state of condemnation 
and danger, and that the wrath of God was revealed 
against all ungodliness, and unrighteousness of men ; 
that time and life were uncertain ; and that the present 
was the time of salvation. 

All men have sinned ; and can a more solemn or awful 
state be conceived than that of a sinner ? One who has 
broken God's laws ; grieved his Spirit ; equally despised 
his promises and threatenings ; indulged the carnal mind 
that is enmity to God ; rejected his authority ; and by 
his habits of sin, declared himself a rebel against his 
Maker ! Do not such persons need warning ? Should 
they not be told that they are on the very brink of per- 
dition ? That the sword of God's justice is unsheathed 
against them ? That the stroke is delayed but a little, 
because of the intercession of the Redeemer of men ; but 
if they continue to provoke, and will not return unto him 
from whom they have so deeply revolted, it will be as 
little consistent with mercy as with justice, to spare 


them, and permit their iniquities to abound to the de- 
struction of others : they should be told that the perdition 
of ungodly men is at hand ; that death is at the door ; 
and the offended justice of God pressing upon his steps ; 
and the jaws of the place of torment opened wide to re- 
ceive every incorrigible transgressor : that if they con- 
tinue to reject, gainsay, and blaspheme, neither light nor 
hope awaits them ; that there is no sacrifice for sin but 
that which they are rejecting ; and that the blackness of 
darkness, and the horrors of despair are about to shut 
them in for ever ! 

The apostle well knew the terrors of the Lord, and 
therefore endeavoured to persuade men to abandon their 
sins and false hopes, and flee to him for mercy and pro- 

His warnings were not addressed merely to their pas- 
sions, and animal fears : they were addressed to the soul. 
The word used by the apostle vovQitovvtiq, which we tran- 
slate warning, signifies laying a thing before the mind 
(from vovq, the mind, and TiQrjfii, I place), bringing the 
things to the understanding and conscience — proving the 
wretchedness of their state, that they might be convinced 
of their danger, and see the reasonableness of fleeing from 
the wrath to come. And thus, by these terrors of the Lord 
— their perilous state — the shortness and uncertainty of 
life — the heaven that was receding, and the hell that was 
fast approaching, — the apostle showed his concern for 
their souls, and God's unwillingness to give them up. 
Preaching merely hell-fire, as it is called, may alarm ani- 
mal feelings and apprehensions ; but if the mind be not 
convinced and impressed with a sense of its danger, there 
will be no radical awakening of the soul, nor persevering 
conversion of the heart to God. It was in this way that 
the apostle warned every man, that he might leave Jews 
and Gentiles without excuse. 

A DISCOURSE ON COL. I. 27, 28. 271 

2. He taught them, — " Teaching every man in all wis- 
dom." St. Paul, and all his brother apostles well knew 
that the world was in a state of ignorance and darkness, 
because it was in a state of sinfulness. The influence of 
God produces light; the influence of Satan produces 
darkness. Because the latter influence is universal, there- 
fore darkness has covered the earth, and gross darkness 
the hearts of the people. Hence, the voice of God to 
them is, " Arise, and shine (be enlightened), for thy light 
is come," Isai. lx. 1, 2. And as darkness or night is the 
time for sleep, hence such people are represented as 
sleeping, " Awake thou that sleepest." And as many go 
to sleep in the darkness that never awake, hence it is 
said, " Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the 
dead, and Christ shall give thee light," Eph. v. 14. So 
sinners are in darkness ; sit in darkness ; are asleep in 
their sins, perhaps dreaming of happiness while on the 
brink of destruction : they are also dead ; dead in tres- 
passes and sins ; their souls are separated from God, who 
is the source of light and life. Their darkness must be 
illuminated, their sleepy souls roused from their lethargy ; 
their dead souls quickened by the Spirit of Christ. 
These are great, indeed they may be called terrible, 
truths : but such truths must be taught to the people ; 
and they must be taught them in all wisdom. Men 
are ignorant both of themselves and of their God. They 
must be taught to know that they are sinners, wretched, 
poor, blind, naked, and perishing ; they must be taught 
to know their God, in his purity, justice, and truth ; 
and also in his mercy, in Jesus Christ. To this teaching 
the apostles paid the strictest attention ; and thus they 
taught men in all wisdom ; for the knowledge of a mans 
self, and the knowledge of his God, constitute all that 
is essentially necessary to be known for present and eter- 
nal happiness. It is in this sense we are to understand 


tha terms all wisdom : all that man should know of him- 
self, to give him to feel his need of, and dependence upon, 
God ; and all that he should know of God, as his Crea- 
tor, Saviour, and Portion. On this subject, two of our 
poets have given us imperfect maxims : — 

" Know then thyself, presume not God to scan ; 
The proper study of mankind, is man." Pope. 

" Know then thyself, all wisdom centres there." Young. 

The proper study of mankind, is not man : it is a part 
of proper study, but not the whole ; for this leaves the 
knowledge of God out of the question ; and man may 
study man, till the judgment-day, before he can, from 
that study, become wise unto salvation : and to be finally 
saved, is the chief end, and should be the prime object 
of human knowledge. And what is the history of man ? 
It is a field of blood ; a tissue of errors, iniquities, cruel- 
ties, wretchedness, and woe. As to the other saying, 
that " all wisdom centres in the knowledge of ourselves," 
this also is false ; it is a part of wisdom to know our- 
selves, the other part is to know God. The great Teacher 
says, " This is life eternal, that they might know thee, 
the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast 
sent," John xvii. 3, All wisdom centres in these two 
points of knowledge : for we speak of the wisdom that 
stands in reference to God's glory in the salvation of the 
human soul. In religious matters poets seldom give 
good maxims ; and why ? Because they have them not. 
The word SidaaKovreg, which we translate teaching, sig- 
nifies particular, more than general teaching. A lecturer 
gives general knowledge to a mixed company ; but a 
teacher gives knowledge personally to each. He tries to 
find out by questions properly put, in what his pupil's 
deficiency lies, and gives him pointed instructions on 
those subjects of greatest importance on which he finds 

A DISCOURSE ON COL. I. 27. 28, 273 

he is ignorant; and even in these, he gives line upon 
line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little, 
till he finds him thoroughly informed in all he should 
know of God, Christ, and the way of salvation. A 
preacher who contents himself with merely his pulpit 
duties, or general catechetical work, is not likely to have 
a congregation truly spiritual, and wise unto salvation. 
St. Paul " showed and taught publicly," and not only so, 
hut " from house to house ; testifying both to the Jews 
and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God and faith 
in our Lord Jesus Christ; and thus he kept back no- 
thing that was profitable to them," Acts xx. 20, 21. 
He is not a faithful minister of Christ who does not act 
in the same way. The people in most places are de- 
stroyed for lack of knowledge ; and if, through the 
watchman's fault they perish in their ignorance, their 
blood God will require at the watchman's hand. We 
see then that St. Paul was a pastor after God's own 
heart ; he fed the people with knowledge and under- 

III. We, thirdly, see the end which St. Paul and Lis 
brother apostles had in view by this general and special 
mode of warning and teaching ; viz., " That they might 
present every man perfect in Christ Jesus." 

This is a most important subject ; and should be mi- 
nutely and carefully considered. 

When God made man, he made him in his own 
image and in his own likeness. Now, this must have 
been what is termed the moral image of God ; for it can- 
not be expounded of any formal image or likeness of that 
Infinite Spirit: and from St. Paul, Col. iii. 10, and Eph. 
iv. 24, we learn, that this image consisted in knowledge, 
righteousness, and true holiness. "Put on," says he, 
'"the new man which is renewed in knowledge after 

274 apostolic preaching; 

the jmage of him that created him." And again, " Put 
on the new man, which after God is created in right- 
eousness and true holiness." It is evident, that in these 
two places, which are strictly parallel, the apostle has in 
view the account of the creation of man, as given by 
Moses ; and we find that the divine image or model 
after which man was created, consisted in 1. Knowledge, 
tv [wiyvuxn, — Righteousness, tv foicaioovvri, — and true holi- 
ness, icai 6<tiott)ti ttiq a\i)0£tac, or the holiness of truth; or, 
as others express it — in knowledge, righteousness, holi- 
ness, and truth. 

1. Man had an intellect which God filled with his own 
wisdom therefore he was wise : and he had from that 
wisdom a knowledge of himself, of God, and of his 
works, far beyond what we can now comprehend. His 
giving names to the different creatures, was one proof of 
the extent of that knowledge, and of its special power to 
take in particular as well as general views. He gave 
each creature its name ; and, as it appears, this name was 
expressive of some essential characteristic or quality of 
the creature to which it was applied. The only thing to 
which this knowledge did not apply, was the knowledge 
of good and evil : of good, as contradistinguished from 
evil ; and of evil, as implying the opposite to good. This 
distinction could not have been known but by experi- 
ence ; and such an experience could not comport with 
the perfection of his state, as it would be the consequence 
of his transgression of his Maker's command. When 
he ate of the forbidden tree, of the knowledge of good 
and evil, he then received a knowledge which God never 
designed him to have. He knew good lost, and evil 
got : but previously, his knowledge was pure, holy, good, 
clear, and perfective of his being. It was in consequence 
of his acquisition of this forbidden knowledge, that he 
became spiritually blind, wretched, and ignorant ; and 

A DISCOURSE ON COL. I. 27, 28. 2J5 

this is, and has been, the state of man, of the Gentiles 
who know not God, from that day until now. Ignorance 
is the grand characteristic of the fallen heathen state ; as 
knowledge is of the restored state of man, by Chris- 

The utmost to which heathenism could pretend, was a 
certain degree of the knowledge of nature ; how far this 
went, and how much it fell short of the truth, may be 
seen in the writings of Aristotle and Pliny, who, though 
they have said many excellent things on these subjects, 
have left the science deplorably imperfect, and have not 
been able to throw one steady ray of light on the nature 
of God, the immortality of the soul, or on any other 
matter that concerns the salvation and happiness of man. 
Christianity, which is the grand medicine of fallen cor- 
rupted human nature, reveals God himself, the author of 
nature ; or rather, God has revealed himself in the 
Christian system with which he has blessed mankind. 
Christianity teaches the fallen man the true knowledge 
both of himself and God ; but it is in the light of God 
alone that any man can know himself. The famous 
Greek maxim, yvuQi ctavrov, " know thyself," was fully 
practicable only under the Christian religion. 

2. Righteousness. This word among our ancestors 
signified the same as rightwiseness, thorough wisdom; 
that which gave a man to distinguish between right and 
wrong ; this is the wisdom that comes from above, and 
that man is the right wise man who acts by its dictates. 

Right, from the Anglo-Saxon, nebr, relet, signifies 
straight, as opposed to wrong, pnanj, wrang, injury, and 
that from pnanjen, wrangen, to twist. As jiehtan, rehtan, 
signifies to direct, so pjianjen, wrangen, signifies to twist, 
or turn out of the right way, or straight line. Right is 
straight, and wrong is crooked. Hence the righteous 
man is one who goes straight on or forward ; acts and 


walks by line and rule ; and the unrighteous is he who 
walks in crooked paths, does what is wrong, and is never 
guided by true wisdom. This power, and with it the 
propensity to act aright, was one of the characteristics of 
the human soul, as it came out of the hand of God. It 
was created in knowledge and righteousness, 

3 Holiness, iv ootodjti. The word oo-iorije means that 
holiness which " acts in reference to God ;" and differs 
greatly from another term frequently employed by the 
ipostle, viz., SiKaioawti, which we translate righteousness, 
but which properly signifies that honest, pure, and up- 
right principle by which we act towards men. This 
holiness is properly piety towards God ; heart worship — 
pure from hypocrisy and superstition ; steady, uniform 
piety, worshipping God in spirit and in truth. This was 
another constituent of the image of God in which man 
was made. And he walked in truth, ev ocrionjri tiiq aXri- 
QtiaQ. It was the holiness of truth — unsophisticated piety. 
Every feeling was a feeling of true piety ; and every act 
rship flowed from that feeling. This was a state 
rfection. He knew everything that belonged to 
nis Deing and his duty perfectly ; he acted perfectly ; he 
walked in the right way ; he went straight forward ; he 
ever did what was lawful and right in the sight of God 
his Maker ; he reverenced him in the highest degree ; 
offered the purest worship from a pure and holy heart ; 
and all this was according to truth ; there were no sem- 
blances, no outsides of piety ; all was sterling, all sub- 
stantial ; all such as God could require ; and with every 
act and feeling was the Lord pleased. Alas, that we 
must add, from all this state of perfection, excellence, and 
happiness, man fell ! This the Scripture declares : and 
were it silent, this, the state, feelings, and conduct of 
every man declare, from the remotest antiquity to the 
present day. Man is unwise, unrighteous, and unholy 

A DISCOURSE ON COL. I. 27, 28. 277 

impious, false, and wretched in every page of his history. 
and in every period of his being. 

With such a being, and in such circumstances, God 
cannot be pleased ; he must either create him anew, or 
spurn him for ever from his presence. As he is, he can 
neither please God, nor inherit his glory. What is to he 
done ? God has found out a ransom, and devised means 
that his banished be not expelled from him. The Mes- 
siah came, assumed his nature, suffered and died in his 
stead ; and for his sake, he that believeth is freely justi- 
fied from all things, from which he could not be justified 
by the law of Moses. He came to restore man to the 
divine image and likeness, which he had lost ; and this 
he does by destroying the power, pardoning the guilt, 
and purifying from the defilement of sin. And in refer- 
ence to this he has given his gospel, the glad tidings of 
salvation by Christ Jesus, and has established on the 
earth a ministry of reconciliation ; and in this ministry 
apostles and apostolic men, " teach and warn every man 
in all wisdom, that they may present every man perfect 
in Christ Jesus." Now this perfection is the restoration 
of man to the state of holiness from which he fell, by 
creating him anew in Christ Jesus, and restoring to him 
that image and likeness of God which he has lost ; and 
this is the perfection here mentioned by the apostle. A 
higher meaning than this it cannot have ; a lower mean- 
ing it must not have ; God made man in that degree of 
perfection which was pleasing to his own infinite wisdom 
and goodness. Sin defaced this divine image ; Jesus 
came to restore it. Sin must have no triumph ; and the 
Redeemer of mankind must have his glory. But if man 
be not perfectly saved from all sin, sin does triumph, and 
Satan exult, because they have done a mischief that 
Christ either cannot or will not remove. To say he can- 
not would be shocking blasphemy against the infinite 

278 apostolic preaching; 

power and dignity of the great Creator ; to say he will 
not would be equally such against the infinite benevo- 
lence and holiness of his nature. All sin, whether in 
power, guilt, or defilement, is the work of the devil, and 
he, Jesus, came to destroy the work of the devil ; and 
as " all unrighteousness is sin," so " his blood cleanseth 
from all sin," because it " cleanseth from all unrighteous- 

Many stagger at the term perfection in Christianity, 
because they think that what is implied in it is incon- 
sistent with a state of probation, and savours of pride 
and presumption ; but we must take good heed how we 
stagger at any word of God, and much more how we 
deny or fritter away the meaning of any of his sayings, 
lest he reprove us, and we be found liars before him. 
But it may be that the term is rejected, because it is not 
understood. Let us examine its import. 

The word perfection, in reference to any person or 
thing, signifies, that such person or thing is complete or 
finished, that it has nothing, redundant, and is in nothing 
defective. And hence that observation of a learned 
civilian, is at once both correct and illustrative, viz., "We 
count those things perfect, which want nothing requisite 
for the end whereto they were instituted." And to be 
perfect often signifies to be blameless, clear, irreproach- 
able ; and according to the above definition of Hooker, 
a man may be said to be perfect, who answers the end 
for which God made him ; and as God requires every 
man to love him with all his heart, soul, mind, and 
strength, and his neighbour as himself, then he is a per- 
fect man that does so; he answers the end for which 
God made him; and this is more evident from the 
nature of that love which fills his heart ; for as love is 
the principle of obedience, so he that loves his God with 
all his powers, will obey him with all his powers ; and 

A DISCOURSE ON COL. I. 27, 28. 279 

he who loves his neighbour as himself, will not only do 
no injury to him, but on the contrary, labour to promote 
his best interests. Why the doctrine which enjoins such 
a state of perfection as this should be dreaded, ridiculed, 
or despised, is a most strange thing ; and the opposition 
to it can only be from that carnal mind which is enmity 
to God, " that is not subject to the law of God, neither 
indeed can be." And had I no other proof that man is 
wholly fallen from God, his opposition to Christian holi- 
ness would be to me sufficient. 

But let us examine the import of those original terms, 

which our translators render in this way, and take them 

in the order in which they occur. The first is nXuos 

from Ti\og, an end, which is from TtXtvio, to make an end, 


In Matt. v. 48, our Lord says, '~EaiaQt v/xae rtXnoi, 
loOTTip 6 irari]p vfiiiiv 6 tv toiq ovpavoig rt\tw£ tan.. l e shall 
be perfect, as your Father who is in heaven is perfect." 
Here the word teXhoc has the very same meaning as the 
English term ; that which is complete — is in no case de- 
fective, in none redundant — and if we speak it of a 
Christian, he is one who is finished and completed ; God 
has completed, or finished, or made an end of his work- 
in him — broke all the power of sin — blotted out all the 
guilt of sin— and purified his soul from all the defilement 
of sin ; so that he is pure and holy, and loving and 
beneficent in his sphere, circumstances, and nature, as 
God is in his. He is like his God, because he is now 
holy ; created anew in Christ Jesus ; through the power 
of divine grace, he has regained the image of God which 
he had lost. 

The second word thus used is KarapriZot. 

In 2 Cor. xiii. 11, the apostle exhorts the saints at 
Corinth : Aoiwov, aSc\<poi, xaipiri, KarapTi&aOt, TtapaKaKtioOi, 
to avro QpovtiTi, nptvtvTt, "Finally, my brethren, fare- 

280 apostolic preaching; 

well ; be perfect, be of good comfort, be of one mind." 
Now as the word icarapr«?w, which is here translated 'per- 
fect, comes from Kara, denoting intenseness, and apn?w, 
to " fit, adjust, to restore a luxated member or bone to 
its proper place," so as to be as strong and healthy as it 
was in the beginning ; and is a metaphor taken from dis- 
junction and derangement of any kind, when the article 
or person is brought into its proper place again, and per- 
fectly answers the end of its being, accomplishing the 
purpose for which it was made or created ; it is spoken 
of restored dilapidated buildings and joints, and to per- 
fect, in this sense, is to bring a rent church, or body of 
people, into their primitive unity, by reconciliation, and 
to restore the soul to order and harmony. Thus we find 
the meaning to be nearly the same with that of the former 
word reXfioj. It is used in Heb. xiii. 21, to signify the 
sum of obedience to the will of God, springing from the 
work of God in the soul. " Now the God of peace — 
make you perfect (icarapritrai iftag), in every good work 
to do his will, working in you that which is well pleasing 
in his sight through Jesus Christ." 

And in 1 Pet. v. 10, it is used to express a complete 
preparation for the kingdom of God. " But the God oi 
all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory bj 
Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered awhile (oKiyoi 
vadovTdQ, having suffered a little), make you perfed 
(icaraprKTai vjxag, restore your whole disordered spirits tc 
perfect soundness), stablish, strengthen, settle you." 

And to bring a man to this state of perfect restoratioi 
to the image of God, and to fit and adapt him thoroughly 
to know, do, and suffer God's will, the Holy Scriptures 
have been given by divine inspiration, that by them 
through "doctrine, reproof, correction, and instruction ii 
righteousness, the man of God may be perfect (Iva apno, 
y 6 tov 6eov avQpuinog), thoroughly furnished (ttypno /uvoi 

A DISCOURSE ON COL. I. 27, 28. 281 

complete in all parts) unto all good works," 2 Tim. iii. 

16, 17- 

The word apnoc, used here, signifies an equal number, 
for such has no defect, and from which nothing can be 
taken away, and to which nothing can be added, without 
totally destroying its nature. It is complete in itself, 
has neither defect nor redundance, and answers to the 
definition given by the .best lexicographers, of the word 
perfect ; see p. 279. St. Paul uses a compound of this 
word, which we translate perfection, 2 Cor. xiii. 9: 
'■ And this also we wish, your perfection (jr)v vpwv 
KarapTicnv), that you may be redeemed from your present 
distractions and divided state — become perfectly united 
among yourselves — be partakers of the mind that was 
in Jesus, that the God of peace and love may be with 

In Heb. vi. 1 the apostle exhorts the people " to go on 
unto perfection" (tm rr\v TtKuorr\Ta), not to rest in what 
might be called initiatory instructions, or the first prin- 
ciples of the doctrine of Christ, but proceed to get a full, 
experimental, and practical knowledge of all its excellence. 
And he uses the same word, Col. iii. 14, to express the 
highest state of grace, where love to God and man sums 
up and binds together all the graces that constitute the 
mind of Christ : " Above all these things, put on charity 
{ayairtjv, lore), which is the bond of perfection — »)ri<, «<"■' 

crvvdt<T[io<; ti)q rfXfioDjrof . 

Once more, the whole gospel, its blessings, and its 
privileges, in contradistinction from, and opposition to 
the whole Mosaic dispensation, is termed by the apostle 
rtXciojutg, perfection, because it brings perfect instruction 
in the whole will of God, perfects all revelations and dis- 
pensations that had gone before ; exhibits a perfect sacri- 
fice and atonement for all tlje sins of all mankind, and 
the complete destruction of theoKnal mind, and resto- 


ration of the fallen spirit of man to the image of God, or 
righteousness and true holiness. If therefore perfection 
(reXciwtrte) were by the Levitical priesthood, what further 
need was there that another priest should rise : "For the 
law made nothing perfect, ovStv yap iriKtuaaiv 6 i/o/iog - but 
the bringing in of a better hope did, by which we draw 
nigh to God," Heb. vii. 19. We see therefore that the 
whole design of God was to restore man to his image, 
and raise him from the ruins of his fall ; in a word, to 
make him perfect ; to blot out all his sins, purify his soul, 
and fill him with holiness ; so that no unholy temper, 
evil desire, or impure affection or passion, should either 
lodge or have any being within him ; this and this only 
is true religion, or Christian perfection ; and a less salva- 
tion than this would be dishonourable to the sacrifice of 
Christ, and the operation of the Holy Ghost, and would 
be as unworthy of the appellation of Christianity as it 
would be of that of holiness or perfection. They who 
ridicule this are scoffers at the word of God ; many of 
them totally irreligious men, sitting in the seat of the 
scornful. They who deny it, deny the whole scope and 
design of divine revelation and the mission of Jesus 
Christ. And they who preach the opposite doctrine, 
namely, that a man can be saved in his sins, are either 
speculative Antinomians or pleaders for Baal. 

But that the really godly and sincere may not come 
under such a censure, for some I know have opposed 
the name, while they substantially held the thing ; let 
us consider what is the ground of that prejudice that 
opposes what the Scriptures so frequently mention, and 
what Jesus Christ so solemnly inculcates. When St. 
Paul says, '" he warns every man, and teaches every man 
in all wisdom, that he may present every man perfect 
in Christ Jesus ;" he must mean something. What then 
is this something ? It must mean " that holiness without 

A DISCOURSE ON COL. I. 27, 28. 283 

which none shall see the Lord." Call it by what name 
we please, it must imply the pardon of all transgression, 
and the removal of the whole body of sin and death ; 
for this must take place before we can be like him, and 
see him as he is, in the effulgence of his own glory. 
This fitness then to appear before God, and thorough 
preparation for eternal glory, is what I plead for, pray 
for, and heartily recommend to all true believers, under 
the name of Christian perfection. Had I a better name, 
one more energetic, one with a greater plenitude of 
meaning, one more worthy of the efficacy of the blood 
that bought our peace, and cleanseth from all unright- 
eousness, I would gladly adopt and use it. Even the 
word perfection has, in some relations, so many qualifi- 
cations and abatements that cannot comport with that 
full and glorious salvation recommended in the Gospel, 
and bought and sealed by the blood of the cross ; that 
I would gladly lay it by, and employ a word more posi- 
tive, and unequivocal in its meaning, and more worthy 
of the merit of the infinite atonement of Christ, and of 
the energy of his Almighty Spirit ; but there is none 
in our language, which I deplore as an inconvenience 
and a loss. 

Why then are there so many, even among sincere and 
godly ministers and people, who are so much opposed to 
the term, and so much alarmed at the profession? I 
answer, — 1. Because they think that no man can be 
fully saved from sin in this life. I ask, where is this, in 
unequivocal words, written in the New Testament ? 
Where, in that book, is it intimated that sin is never 
wholly destroyed till death takes place, and the soul and 
the body are separated? Nowhere. In the popish 
baseless doctrine of purgatory, this doctrine, with more 
rational consequences, is held. This doctrine allows, 



that, so inveterate is sin that it cannot be wholly de- 
stroyed, even in death, and that a penal fire, in a 
middle state between heaven and hell, is necessary to 
atone for that which the blood of Christ has not can- 
celled, and to purge from that which the energy of the 
Almighty Spirit had not cleansed before death. 

Even papists could not see that a moral evil was de- 
tained in the soul, through its physical connexion with 
the body; and that it required the dissolution of this 
physical connexion before the moral contagion could be 
removed. Protestants, who profess, and most certainly 
possess a better faith, are they alone that maintain the 
death-bed purgatory ; and how positively do they hold 
out death as the complete deliverer from all corruption, 
and the final destroyer of sin, as if it were revealed in 
every page of the Bible ; whereas there is not one pas- 
sage in the Sacred Volume that says any such thing. 
Were this true, then death, far from being the last 
enemy, would be the last and best friend, and the greatest 
of all deliverers ; for, if the last remains of all the in- 
dwelling sin of all believers is to be destroyed by death 
(and a fearful mass this will make), then, death that 
removes it, must be the highest benefactor of mankind. 
The truth is, he is neither the cause nor the means of its 
destruction. It is the blood of Jesus alone that cleanseth 
from all unrighteousness. 

2. It is supposed that in-dwelling sin is useful even to 
true believers, " because it humbles them, and keeps 
them low in their own estimation." A little examination 
will show that this is contrary to the fact. It is gene- 
rally, if not universally allowed, that pride is of the 
essence of sin, if not its very essence ; and the root 
whence all moral obliquity flows. How then can pride 
humble us? Is not this absurd? Where is there a 

A DISCOURSE OX COL. I. 27, 28. 285 

sincere Christian, be his creed what it may, that does 
not deplore his proud, rebellious, and unsubdued heart 
and will, as the cause of all his wretchedness ; the thing 
that mars his best sacrifices, and prevents his communion 
with God ? How often do such people say or sing, both 
in their public and private devotions : — < 

" But pride, that busy sin, spoils all that I perform." 

Were there no pride, there would be no sin ; and the 
heart from which it is cast out has the humility, meek- 
ness, and gentleness of Christ implanted in its stead. 

But still it is alleged as an indubitable fact, that, " a 
man is humbled under a sense of in-dwelling sin." I 
grant that they who see, and feel, and deplore their in- 
dwelling sin, are humbled : but is it the sin that humbles ? 
No. It is the grace of God that shows and condemns 
the sin that humbles us. Neither the Devil nor his 
work will ever show themselves. Pride works frequently 
under a dense mask, and will often assume the garb of 
humility ; how true is that saying, and of how many is 
it the language : 

" Proud I am my wants to see : 
Proud of my humility." 

And, to conceal his working, even Satan himself is 
transformed into an angel of light. It appears, then, 
that we attribute this boasted humiliation to a wrong 
cause ; we never are humbled under a sense of in-dwell- 
ing sin, till the Spirit of God drags it to the light, and 
shows us, not only its horrid deformity, but its hostility 
to God ; and he manifests it, that he may take it away ; 
but a false opinion causes many to hug the monster, and 
to contemplate their chains with complacency ! 

3. It has been objected to this perfection, this perfect 
work of God in the soul, that " the greater sense we 
n 2 


hate of our own sinfulness the more will Christ be ex- 
alted in the eye of the soul ; for if the thing were pos- 
sible, that a man might be cleansed from all sin in this 
life, he would feel no need of a Saviour; Christ would 
be undervalued by him as no longer needing his saving 
power." This objection mistakes the whole state of the 
case. How is Christ exalted in the view of the soul ? 
How is it that he becomes precious to us ? Is it not from 
a sense of what he has done for us ; and what he has 
done in us ? Did any man ever love God till he had 
felt that God loved him ? Do we not love him because 
he first loved us ? Is it the name Jesus that is precious 
to us ? or Jesus the Saviour, saving us from our sins ? 
Is all our confidence placed in him because of some one 
saving act ? or because of his continual operation as 
the Saviour ? Can any effect subsist without its cause ? 
Must not the cause continue to operate in order to main- 
tain the effect ? Do we value a good cause more for the 
instantaneous production of a good and important effect, 
than we do for its continual energy, exerted to maintain 
that good and important effect? All these questions 
can be answered by a child. What is it that cleanseth 
the soul, and destroys sin ? Is it not the mighty power 
of the grace of God ? What is it that keeps the soul 
clean ? Is it not that same power dwelling in us ? No 
more can an effect subsist without its cause than a sanc- 
tified soul abide in holiness without the indwelling 
sanctifier. When Christ casts out the strong-armed man, 
he takes away that armour in which he trusted, he spoils 
his goods: he cleanses and enters into the house, so 
that the heart becomes the habitation of God through 
the Spirit. Can then a man undervalue that Christ, 
who not only blotted out his iniquity, but cleansed his 
soul from all sin ; and whose presence and inward mighty 

A DISCOURSE ON COL. I. 27, 28. 287 

working constitute ail his holiness and all his happi- 
ness? Impossible ! Jesus was never so highly valued, 
so intensely loved, so affectionately obeyed, as now. The 
Great Saviour has not his highest glory from his atoning 
and redeeming acts, but from the manifestation of his 
saving power. 

He was incarnated, suffered, died, and rose again from 
the dead that he might make an atonement for the 
world, and save his people from their sins. It is only 
when " the thoughts of our hearts are purified by the 
inspiration of his Holy Spirit that we perfectly love him. 
and worthily magnify his name." We never properly 
know his worth, nor feel our obligation to him, till we 
feel that he has blotted out our sin, and healed the 
infected streams of our fallen nature. Now only can 
the saved soul sing the new song — " Unto him that 
loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, 
and hath made us kings and priests unto God and his 
Father, be glory and dominion for ever and ever, Amen ;" 
Rev. i. 5, 6. 

4. " But the persons who profess to have been made 
thus perfect are proud and supercilious, and their whole 
conduct says to their neighbour, Stand by, I am holier 
than thou." No person that acts so has ever received 
this grace. He is either a hypocrite, or a self-deceiver. 
Those who have received it are full of meekness, gentle- 
ness, and long-suffering ; they love God with all their 
hearts, they love even their enemies ; love the whole 
human family, and are servants of all. They know they 
have nothing but what they have received. In the 
splendour of God's holiness they feel themselves absorbed. 
They have neither light, power, love, nor happiness, but 
from their indwelling Saviour. Their holiness, though 
it fills the soul, yet is only a drop from the infinite 


ocean. The flame of their love, though it penetrates 
thefr whole being, is only a spark from the incompre- 
hensible Sun of Righteousness. In a spirit, and in a 
way which none but themselves can fully comprehend 
and feel, they can say or sing : — 

" I loathe myself when God I see 

And into nothing fall ; 
Content that Christ exalted be ; 

And God is All in All." 

It has been no small mercy to me that, in the course 
of my religious life, I have met with many persons who 
professed that the blood of Christ had saved them from 
all sin ; and whose profession was sustained by an im- 
maculate life ; but I never knew one of them that was 
not of the spirit above described. They were men of 
the strongest faith, the purest love, the holiest affections, 
the most obedient lives, and the most useful in society. 
I have seen such walking with God for many years ; and 
as I had the privilege of observing their walk in life, so 
have I been privileged with their testimony at death, 
when their sun appeared to grow broader and brighter at 
its setting ; and though they came through great tribula- 
tion, they found that their robes were washed and made 
white through the blood of the Lamb. They fully wit- 
nessed the grand effects which in this life flow from jus- 
tification, adoption, and sanctification : viz., assurance 
of God's love ; peace of conscience ; joy in the Holy 
Ghost ; increase of grace ; and perseverance in the same 
to the end of their lives. O God, let my death be like 
that of those righteous ! and let my end be like theirs ! 

5. It is scarcely worth mentioning another objection 
that has been started by the ignorant, the worthless, and 
the wicked. " The people that profess this leave Christ 

A DISCOURSE ON COL. I. 27, 28. 289 

out of the question ; they either think that they have 
^purified their own hearts, or that they hate gained their 
pretended perfection by their own merits." Nothing can 
be more false than this calumny. I know that people 
well in whose creed the doctrine of salvation from all 
sin in this life, is a prominent article. But that people 
hold most conscientiously that all our salvation from the 
first dawn of light in the soul to its entry into the king- 
dom of glory, is all by and through Christ. He alone 
convinces the soul of sin, justifies the ungodly, sancti- 
fies the unholy, preserves in the state of salvation, and 
brings to everlasting blessedness. No soul ever was or 
can be saved, but through his agony and bloody sweat, 
his cross and passion, his death and burial, his glorious 
resurrection and ascension, and continued intercession at 
the right hand of God. 

We have sung, and we will sing unto the end, — 

'* For Jesu s blood through earth and skies, 
Mercy ! free, boundless mercy cries." 

If men would but spend as much time in fervently 
calling upon God to cleanse the blood that he has not 
cleansed, as they spend in decrying this doctrine, what a 
glorious state of the church should we soon witness! 
Instead of compounding with iniquity, and tormenting 
their minds to find out with how little grace they may 
be saved, they would renounce the devil and all his 
works ; and be determined never to rest till they had 
found that he had bruised him under their feet, and that 
the blood of Christ had cleansed them from all unright- 
eousness. Why is it that men will not try how far God 
will save them ? nor leave off praying and believing for 
more and more, till they find that God has withheld his 
baad? When they find that their agonizing faith and 

290 apostolic preaching; 

prayer receive no further answer, then, and not till then, 
they may conclude that God will be no farther gracious, 
and that he will not save to the uttermost them who 
come unto him through Christ Jesus. 

6. But it is farther objected that even St. Paul him- 
self denies this doctrine of perfection, — disclaiming it in 
reference to himself: "Not as though I had already 
attained, either were already perfect ; but I follow after ;" 
Phil. iii. 12. This place is mistaken; the apostle is not 
speaking of his restoration to the image of God, but of 
his completing his ministerial course, and receiving the 
crown of martyrdom; as I have fully shown in my 
notes on this place, and to which I must beg to refer the 

7- There is another point that has been produced, at 
least indirectly, in the form of an objection to this doc- 
trine : " Where are those adult, those perfect Christians ? 
We know none such ; but we have heard that some 
persons professing those extraordinary degrees of holi- 
ness, have become scandalous in their lives." When a 
question of this kind is asked by one who fears God 
and earnestly desires his salvation; and only wishes to 
have full evidence that the thing is attainable, that he 
may shake himself from the dust, and arise and go up 
to possess the good land, — it deserves to be seriously 
answered. To such, I would say, there may be several, 
even in the circle of your own religious acquaintance, 
whose evil tempers and unholy affections God has de- 
stroyed, and having filled them with his own holiness 
they are enabled to love him with all their heart, soul, 
mind, and strength, and their neighbour as themselves. 
But such make no public professions; their conduct, 
their spirit, the whole tenor of their life is their tes- 
timony. Again, there may be none such among your 

A DISCOURSE ON COL. I. 27, 28. 291 

religious acquaintance, because they do not know their 
privilege, or they unfortunately git under a ministry 
where the doctrine is decried ; and in such congregations 
and churches holiness never abounds, men are too apt to 
be slothful, and unfaithful to the grace they have re- 
ceived; they need not their minister's exhortations to 
beware of looking for or expecting a heart purified 
from all unrighteousness. Striving or agonizing to 
enter in at the strait gate, is not pleasant work to 
flesh and blood ; and they are glad to have anything to 
countenance their spiritual indolence : and such min- 
isters have always a powerful coadjutor ; the father of 
lies, and the spirit of error, will work in the unrenewed 
heart, filling it with darkness, and prejudice, and un- 
belief; no wonder then that in such places, and under 
such a ministry, there is no man that can be presented 
perfect in Christ Jesus. But wherever the trumpet gives 
a certain sound, and the people go forth to battle headed 
by the Captain of their salvation ; there the foe is routed, 
and genuine believers brought into the liberty of the 
children of God. 

As to some having professed to have received this sal- 
vation, and afterwards become scandalous in their lives 
(though in all my long ministerial labours, and extensive 
religious acquaintance, I never found but one example), 
I would just observe that they might possibly have been 
deceived ; thought they bad what they had not ; or they 
might have become unfaithful to that grace and lost it ; 
and this is possible through the whole range of a state 
of probation. There have been angels who kept not 
their first estate ; and we all know to our cost, that he 
who was the head and fountain of the whole human 
family ; who was made in the image and likeness of God, 
sinned against God, and fell from that state. And so 

n 3 

292 apostolic preaching; 

may any of his descendants fall from any degree of the 
grace of God while in their state of probation ; and any 
man, and every man must fall whenever he or they cease 
to watch unto prayer, and cease to be workers together 
with God. Faith must ever be kept in lively exercise, 
working by love ; and that love is only safe when found 
exerting its energies in the path of obedience. An ob- 
jection of this kind against the doctrine of Christian per- 
fection, will apply as forcibly against ihe whole revelation 
of God, as it can do against one of the doctrines ; be- 
cause that revelation brings the account of the defection 
of angels, and of the fall of man. The truth is, no doc- 
trine of God stands upon the knowledge, experience, 
faithfulness, or unfaithfulness of man : it stands on the 
veracity of God who gave it. If there were not a 
man to be found who was justified freely through the 
redemption that is by Jesus ; yet the doctrine of justi- 
fication by faith is true, for it is a doctrine that stands on 
the truth of God. And suppose not one could be found 
in all the churches of Christ whose heart was purified 
from all unrighteousness ; and who loved God and man 
with all his regenerated powers; yet the doctrine of 
Christian perfection would still be true ; for Christ was 
manifested that he might destroy the work of the devil ; 
and his blood cleanseth from all unrighteousness. And 
suppose every man be a liar, God is true. 

It is not the profession of a doctrine that establishes 
its truth ; it is the truth of God, from which it has pro- 
ceeded. Man's experience may illustrate it; but it is 
God's truth that confirms it. 

In all cases of this nature, we must for ever cease from 
man, implicitly credit God's testimony, and look to him 
in and through whom all the promises of God are Yea, 
and Amen. 

A DISCOURSE ON COL. I. 27, 28. 29H 

I conclude from the whole, and trust I have satisfac- 
torily proved it, that as Christ among and in the people, 
the hope of glory, was the sum and substance of the 
apostle's preaching ; so, their redemption from all sin, 
its power, guilt, and contamination, even in this life, was 
the grand, the only end at which he aimed in all his 
ministry ; and that to labour to present every man per- 
fect in Christ Jesus, is at once, the duty and glory of 
every Christian preacher. 



Psalm xxxvi. 5 — 9. 

5. " Thy mercy, O Lord, is in the heavens, and thy faithfulness 
unto the clouds. 

6. " Thy righteousness is like the great mountains, bx nffi : 
thy judgments are a great deep, rm Dinn : O Lord, thou preservest 
man and beast ! 

7. " How excellent thy loving-kindness, TTOn, O God ! therefore 
the children of men, DTK "331, put their trust under the shadow of 
thy wings. 

8. " They shall be abundantly satisfied with the fatness of thy 
house ; and thou shalt make them drink of the river of thy plea- 
sures, TTW (VV) "JTO (the river of thy Eden). 

9. " For with thee is the fountain of life (D'TI lip-2 the vein of 
lives) : in thy light shall we see light." 

Among the many subjects of the deepest interest and 
importance which the ministers of the sanctuary find it 
their duty to bring under the consideration of their con- 
gregations ; there are two, especially, which on particular 
occasions, they deem it necessary to discuss : these are, 
gratitude and hope. The first generally refers to time 
past, and the circumstances of that time. The second 
refers to the future, and what may be necessary in that 
unknown period. Both respect God, and the operations 


of his hand, in reference to man, the subject of those 
operations : the former, to times and circumstances of 
prosperity; the latter, to circumstances of present or 
possible adversity. Gratitude refers to blessings already 
bestowed : hope, to those which may be necessary to sup- 
port and preserve in times of distress. Gratitude has 
the most obvious reasons to recommend it, because it 
arises from a consciousness of obligation ; and obligation 
springs from a sense of favours already received. Hope 
or dependence has not this consciousness of obligation, 
for its objects are not yet in possession, and consequently 
cannot make such lively impressions as those of the 

But these two principles are generally referred to two 
grand dispensations of infinite wisdom employed in the 
economy of the salvation of man ; the former to the 
grace, the latter to the providence, of God. Grace or 
mercy, communicates the blessings which demand and 
excite gratitude. Providence prepares those that refer 
to the continuity of life's progress, and its support : for 
those we hope, or rather we are said to trust, or confide 
in Providence. 

It has already been hinted, that gratitude is concerned 
with benefits already bestowed. He hath loved us, and 
given himself for us ; we love him in return for his love ; 
and hope, or trust in providence, is concerned with those 
which we know from past experience that we shall need, 
and that God has, and can dispense : and hence, there 
are particular times in which these two principles, graces, 
or duties, as they have been indifferently termed, have 
been called into especial exercise ; in times of abundant 
blessings or outpouring of God's grace and spirit ; and in 
times of trial by long-continued severe weather, or in 
times of general scarcity, of famine and such like. 
We have had our times of refreshing and general 


plenty ; and if we have not been grateful for such mer- 
cies' we are highly culpable. When the mouth is full of 
meat, it is natural to look for a thankful heart. But in 
times of general scarcity, arising from various causes ; and 
of sharp suffering and want, through the severity of the 
weather, by a long-continued snow and intense frost, by 
which trade and commerce have been impeded, and the 
distresses of the poor multiplied, which is the case at the 
present time, and by which we are all less or more 
affected, trusting or confiding in God's providence, is both 
a duty and a relief; and it is truly a matter of astonish- 
ment that this duty is so rarely practised, and that it 
should still be a, subject seldom inculcated in public 
teaching; and consequently, little understood by those 
who are so much interested in it. Indeed, a discourse 
upon providence scarcely occurs in a whole year's minis- 
trations ; and were all to be built according to the models 
we have, the scarcity need not be deplored ; as they em- 
broil the subject, render it more abstruse, and fill the 
mind with unprofitable reasonings. The whole of the 
science of providence, as far as it is necessary to know 
it, is unfolded in the Scriptures : but the saying of an 
eminent poet having taken the place of the divine dis- 
coveries of prophets and apostles, most people are afraid 
of examining the subject, as a proper understanding of 
it is hopeless ; for thus saith the poet : — 

" The ways of heaven are dark and intricate ; 
Puzzled with mazes and perplex'd witli error, 
Our understanding searches them in vain." 


Whatever truth there may be in this as far as God's 
counsels or determinations are concerned, the saying 
should not be applied to the operations of Providence in 
reference to the preservation and salvation of men. But 
we shall meet the subject shortly, and endeavour to 


examine it in a nearer point of view. In the words of 
the Psalmist we find, 

I. A manifestation of God in those attributes of his 
nature, in which his intelligent offspring are more imme- 
diately concerned. 

II. The operations of his providence in their temporal 

III. The operations of his grace in their endless sal- 

IV The confidence they may possess, and the hap- 
piness they may feel in having this God for their por- 

I. The Psalmist represents the Divine Being under 
those attributes in which his rational creatures are more 
especially concerned. He is merciful, faithful, righteous, 
and the God of judgment. 

This is the general view which David takes of this 
supreme Being, the Creator, preserver, and governor of 
all things, and on these views he founds his devotion, 
confidence, and gratitude. In order to worship God 
aright, these points must be carefully considered : 

The worship which God prescribes and requires, is not 
only a spiritual worship directed by truth, particularly 
suited to his own spiritual nature, John iv. 23, 24 ; but 
it is also a reasonable service, Xoyuoj \arpaa, as the apos- 
tle terms it, Rom. xii. 1, i. e., a service every way suit- 
able to the perfect and excellent nature of him to whom 
it is offered ; and expressive of the gratitude, homage, 
wants, and wishes of the worshipper. 

These are the principles on which the very essence of 
religion is founded, whether we call that religion natural 
or revealed. Every human being has a full conviction 
that his own wisdom is too imperfect to direct him ; that 
his strength is not sufficient to protect him ; and that 
happiness cannot be found where there is not wisdom 


and strength rationally excited to energetic operation, in 
order to produce and apply the means by which it can 
be produced and retained. On such a conviction, in the 
midst of dangers and deaths, which man's wisdom cannot 
foresee, nor his power protect him against, they have 
been led to look for foreign assistance ; and as every man 
sees all his fellows nearly as weak and as ignorant as 
himself, and all thirsting for a happiness which they 
know not where to find, they have had a general idea of 
the possible existence of some spiritual nature, whose 
wisdom is infinite, and whose power is uncontrollable; 
whose influence and favour, could they but obtain, they 
might live free from dread, and acquire, under his 
guidance and support, all the means of defence and hap- 

Ignorant and fallen as men are, God has not left them 
without some such ideas of his own Being, and some 
such convictions of their own weakness and dependent 
state. But as there was as yet no revelation, no direc- 
tory for divine worship, men did not agree in what was 
to be the proper object of worship ; nor could they tell 
with what rites or ceremonies this Being was to be wor- 
shipped; or, in other words, in what way or by what 
means they could interest his wisdom and power in their 
behalf. Who is God ? They could not tell ; but there 
must be some such Being. How is he to be worshipped ? 
They could not conjecture ; but a worship or religious 
service he must require. 

In such a state of mind, encompassed with thick 
darkness, imagination began to work, under the direction 
of caprice and folly ; and the result must be as we find 
it : they had gods many, and lords many, and they wor- 
shipped them with the most foolish, absurd, extravagant, 
and often abominable and cruel rites, which instead of 
helping, sunk them into deeper degradation; so that 


under the system of idolatry, human nature grew worse 
and worse ; and the trio compound of beast, devil, and 
man, was all that appeared of that noble creature who 
was originally made in the image and likeness of God ! 
It may be said, that " better could not be expected, the 
fallen state of man considered." I must say that worse 
could not be anticipated. Even in their circumstances, 
they might have done better. God has left an impres- 
sion of his being on every mind ; " for the invisible 
things of him from the creation of the world are clearly 
seen, being understood by the thngs that are made, even 
his eternal power and godhead ; so that they are without 
excuse : for that which may be known of God is mani- 
fest in them, for God hath shewed it unto them," Rom. 
i. 19, 20. And although this could not answer the end 
of such a revelation of his will as God has given in the 
Bible to man, farther illuminated by that true light that 
enlighteneth every man that cometh into the world ; yet 
all, if man had paid proper attention to them, were ini- 
tiatory rays of salvation. We may therefore say, if man 
(absorbed by the beast that was in Mm, which itself was 
actuated by him who worketh in the hearts of the chil- 
dren of disobedience) had not abused the powers super- 
naturally restored to him, idolatry had never gained such 
an ascendency in the world. 

Has any man ever been incapable of discerning that 
i figure in human shape hewed out of stone, carved out 
of wood, or molten out of silver, gold, or other metal, 
^ould not afford him any help ? He could easily discern 
that though it had eyes, it could not see with them ; 
;hough it had well-formed ears, it could not hear ; though 
t had a well-fashioned mouth, yet it could not speak ; 
lands, but it could not handle ; and feet, but it could not 
valk. In short, it was nothing but a mass of stone, a 
og of wood, or a block of metal in a human or some 


other form. Now as with all his own senses, and loco- 
motive faculties, with all his own knowledge and expe- 
rience, he could not help himself, he had only to reflect 
for a moment, to be convinced of the absurdity of ex- 
pecting succour from such objects of his adoration, and 
would scarcely stand in need of the exhortation, " Cast 
thy idols to the moles and to the bats." It was evidently 
a want of consideration and reflection that gave rise to 
idolatry ; and the same cause in the present day produces 
the same effect. Even under the bright rays of the 
gospel, there are millions who expect from the work of 
their own hands, a world of gratification and happiness ! 
If we find any man (and we may find millions of such) 
seeking for happiness, and expecting to find it in things 
which promise to gratify the lust of the flesh, the lust 
of the eye, and the pride of life, habitually neglecting 
God and his salvation, they are as finished idolaters as 
the stupid Huron, the savage Indian, and the refined 
Egyptian ; who commences his religious rites in the wor- 
ship of his white bull, and terminates them with a sacri- 
fice or libation to his onions and leeks. how many 
are gross idolaters, while they suppose themselves to be 
rational creatures! We must return to the Psalmist's 
plan, and consider God, as he does, in order to perform a 
reasonable service ; and worship the infinite Spirit " in 
spirit and in truth. " We want the help of a Being who 
is infinitely wise, and can teach us all wisdom, so that 
we may be infallibly and safely directed through the 
maze of life. We want a Being who is infinitely power- 
ful, and can defend, sustain, and strengthen us, so that 
we shall be able to avoid and overcome every evil ; and 
do that which is lawful and right in his sight : and who 
is infinitely good, and whose goodness will induce him 
to make all grace both in wisdom and strength to abound 
towards us. Such a Being, and such only, is the proper 


object of rational worship ; and from whose plenitude 
every blessing necessary to make us wise, holy, innocent, 
useful, and happy, may be reasonably expected. This 
Being is the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ — 
the Being who loves man, "who has magnified him ; who 
has set his heart upon him ; who visits him every morn- 
ing, and tries him every moment," Job vii. 17, 18. 
David quotes this place of Job, and improves upon it ; 
" What is man (Enosh, miserable man), that thou art 
mindful of him, or the son of man (Adam, the first rebel), 
that thou visitest him? Thou hast made him a little 
lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory 
and honour, and madest him to have dominion over the 
works of thy hands," Ps. viii. 4 — 6. 

Of each of these attributes under which the Psalmist 
considers God the object of his adoration, dependence, 
and gratitude, he gives a particular characteristic. These 
attributes are four : 

1. Mercy, which is said to be in the heavens, inn 
chesed, mercy or diffusive benevolence. It exists in the 
very nature of God ; it springs from his infinite and over- 
flowing goodness ; it comes down from heaven, and ma- 
nifests itself in acts of kindness and compassion. Only 
from God can that mercy come which man needs : it is 
mercy, whose province it is to pardon all manner of sins 
and transgressions, and send grace to help in every time 
of need. When the debt of a transgressor to divine 
justice is considered, we may at once see, that infinite 
mercy alone can cancel the guilt. It is sublime mercy ; 
men can show nothing of the kind ; angels possess it not. 
On earth it had never been known ; in the heaven of 
heavens it would not have been discovered, or even known 
to exist, had not God manifested himself in Christ, by 
reconciling the world unto himself, by the incarnation, 
passion, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. As it 


can be found only in the bosom of God, there should 
we seek it ; as it comes from the heavens, thence should 
we expect it. It acts in reference to man, through con- 
siderations derived from itself; it cannot be procured or 
purchased. It comes through Christ Jesus ; and God 
dispenses it for his own name's sake. 

2. Faithfulness. rmix emunak. This implies* truth, 
steadiness, stability, constancy; it belongs to him on 
whose care, truth, or unchangeableness the utmost con- 
fidence may be placed. And this is said to be " to the 
clouds," o-prro nj? ad sheckakim, to the eternal regions — 
above all visible space. As signifying fidelity or faith- 
fulness, it is that attribute by which God, in condescen- 
sion to our weakness, represents himself as bound to 
fulfil the promises and covenants made by his mercy. 
Blessings from the heavens, from the clouds, and from 
the earth, are promised by the Creator to his creatures ; 
and his faithfulness is in all these places to distribute to 
his followers the mercies he has promised. In order to 
provide grass for the cattle, and corn for the service of 
man, the Lord says, " I will hear, saith the Lord, I mil 
hear the heavens; and they shall hear the earth; and the 
earth shall hear the corn, and the wine, and the oil ; and 
they shall hear Jezreel," Hos. ii. 21, 22. These things 
are here personified — every thing is alive in the hand 
of God. Not only life appears in every part of inert 
matter, but that life is instinct with intelligence. God 
speaks, and heaven, earth, corn, wine, and oil are said 
to hear, understand, and become active. Thus, all spirit 
and all matter are pressed by this omnipresent and uni- 
versal Agent, into the service of man ; and so regular 
are they in their attention to the commands of their 
sovereign, that they are never idle, and never swerve 
from their duty. 

3. It is said here, that this Being is righteous, p-nt 


tscclek. He who is just, and distributes everything in 
iiis dispensations of justice, providence, and grace with 
the wisest discrimination, impartiality, and carefulness. 
He is righteous — he gives to all their due ; and they who 
receive his influence, and abide under his shadow, show 
mercy, justice, goodness, and truth to their fellows ; and 
thus prove that they have derived the principles of their 
conduct, and the mode of applying them, from their 
Father who is in heaven. 

But of this righteousness or justice it is said, that it 
is " like the great mountains," bx mro keharerey El, 
'• like the mountains of God ;" i. e., exceeding great or 
high mountains, — mountains which are never shaken, 
and cannot be moved : to show the inflexible nature and 
permanence of his justice and righteousness. It is now, 
as it has ever been, and ever will be. With it there is 
no respect of persons, because it has no caprices. It 
takes no gifts to blind its eyes ; it has no predilections ; 
no feeble fondnesses ; no rigour beyond the law ; and no 
softness below it. In its hand the beam of justice is 
ever even, and the scales of equity at all times exactly 
counterpoised. Its counsels of old are faithfulness and 

These '" mountains of God," or great mountains, are 
those which, in the present language of geology, would 
be called primitive mountains; i. e., those that were 
formed at the beginning; and are not the effects of 
earthquakes or inundations, as secondary and alluvial 
mountains are supposed to be. This righteousness or 
justice, whether distinguished by the epithets of distri- 
butive, commutative, or legal, is not the effect of after- 
thought, reflection, or experience : it has been from the 
beginning; it is essential to the perfection of the Divine 
Being : it did not spring from the necessities or circum- 
stances of the creatures he had formed. It was before 


creation; and according to its dictates all things were 
created, adjusted, and arranged. As the great moun- 
tains were essential to the necessities and balance of the 
terraqueous globe, and must have existed from the be- 
ginning ; so that righteousness and justice of which the 
Psalmist speaks must have ever existed in the Divine 
Being ; and according to its directions and influence all 
created nature must have been made. " His righteous- 
ness is like the primitive mountains." 

4. His judgments are "a great deep." Judgments, 
a'laaw shophetim, from tasw shapkat, to regulate, dispose, 
order, direct, judge, and determine ; and sometimes it is 
taken for punishing, i. e., administering penal infliction 
on those who disturb the order, peace, and harmony of 
society, by the transgression of the laws and customs by 
which it is regulated and governed. The administering 
the affairs of providence, regulating the destinies of 
nations ; the bringing about natural and political changes 
in the earth, seem to be intended by the word. And it 
is very probable that the Divine operations in the king- 
dom of Providence are what is particularly designed 
here, as the last clause of the verse seems to intimate. 

These judgments are here said to be " a great deep," 
n2T mnn tehom rabbah, the great abyss. It expresses 
the state in which the chaotic mass was when God spoke 
all its primitive elements into being, previously to their 
arrangement in the six days' work. "The earth was 
without form, and void, and darkness was on the face of 
the deep," ainn <3B peney tehom, " the faces of the deep ;" 
not the depth of the abyss itself, but the faces or exter- 
nal appearance of that which, in reference to what it 
now is, was confusion, darkness, turbulence, and dis- 
order. Now it is Koafioe, the beautiful whole : the terra- 
queous globe, with all its elegant and ornamental pro- 
ductions : — its trees, plants, and flowers of a thousand 


hues and odours • fruits of endlessly varied qualities and 
savours ; together with its metals, minerals, and gems, 
exquisite in beauty, and in value and usefulness inesti- 
mable. But this leads to the consideration of the second 

II. God's providence, and its operations in support of 
rational and irrational creatures. 

" Lord, thou preservest man and beast." norm atK 
rrrv jpunn Adam ubehemah toshiyd Yehovah. The word 
Adam is probably taken here for the human genus, as 
behemah is for that of cattle, or quadrupeds in general : 
what we call collectively man and beast ; meaning most 
probably all animal life, whether found in rational or 
irrational creatures. And of this life it is here said, 
"The Lord preserves it:" it is supported by his all- 
vivifying energy, and by means of his providence. It 
has been asked, " Doth God take care of oxen ?" Yes, 
he appoints the lions their food, and hears the cry of the 
voung ravens ; and if so, will he not provide for man ? 
and for the poor man ? and especially for the poor of his 
people ? He will. So infinitely and intensely good is 
the nature of God, that it is his delight to make all his 
creatures happy. He preserves the man, and he pre- 
serves the beast. And it is his providence that preserves 
man, when his evil propensities and corresponding ac- 
tions level him with the beasts that perish. 

But what is that Providence of which the Psalmist 
speaks ? or, generally speaking, What is Providence ? 

This seems a difficult question ; and were we to con- 
sider the various treatises that have been written upon 
it, we might pronounce it to be inexplicable ; for eminent 
men have not only puzzled themselves, but also puzzled 
the subject ; so that we may say, as the poet does who 
has been already quoted, — 


" The ways of heaven are dark and intricate ; 
Puzzled with mazes, and perplexed with error, 
Our understanding searches them in vain." 

Let us endeavour to simplify the subject, and redeem it 
from those false views, — that darkness and obloquy, by 
which it has been encumbered. 

In our best dictionaries, Divine Providence has been 
thus defined : — 

" The care of God over created beings : divine super- 
intendence." — Johnson. 

"Providence is an intellectual knowledge," says Sir 
W Raleigh, "both foreseeing, caring for, and ordering 
all things ; and doth not only behold all past, all present, 
and all to come, but is the cause of their so being, which 
prescience is not." The latter clause here requires much 
careful explanation, in order to make it unobjectionable, 
which it is not at present. 

The heathens had some notion of a Providence, but 
they considered it the same as Fate, Fortune, Nature, 
Necessity, Destiny, and such like. They founded their 
notion on this supposition : " That the Creator has not 
so fixed and ascertained the laws of nature, not so con- 
nected the chain of second causes, as to leave the world 
to itself; but that he still preserves the reins in his own 
hands, and occasionally intervenes, alters, restrains, en- 
forces, suspends, &c, those laws by a particular Provi- 
dence." — This definition of the thing is attributed to 
Thales. See Chambers. Thales, it is true, said some- 
thing like this concerning necessity ; for being demanded 
'• what was the strongest ?" he replied, " Necessity, for it 
rules all the world. Necessity is the firm judgment and 
immutable power of Providence." But such sayings as 
these leave the thing, — Providence, unexplained. Nei- 
ther the word necessity nor fate, no more than fortune, 


nature, or destiny, can explain the term Providence, as 
it is generally understood. Besides, those terms require 
a profusion of explanation, and, after all, include many 
things that can in no sober or scriptural sense be applied 
to Providence. 

But is it not possible to find a simpler mode of ex- 
plaining the subject ? one that is within common appre- 
hension ? — for surely all should be readily able to under- 
stand that in which they are so deeply interested. I 
have often thought that the term itself lends a clue to 
its own explanation, as far as it includes those generals 
in which intelligent beings are so intimately concerned. 

The word Providence is a compound Latin word, little 
changed by its naturalization in our English tongue ; and 
is thus defined : Providentia, from pro, for or on account 
of, and video, I see ; foresight ; forecast ; to see to ; to look 
after ; to take order for : and hence provisio, provision ; 
having a portion ready beforehand, to supply want as 
soon as it occurs. An ancient heathen says, Providentia 
est per quam aliquid videtur, antequam evenit. " Pro- 
vidence is that by which anything is foreseen, before it 
comes to pass." And having given this general definition 
of the word, he applies it to that providence of which 
we are speaking : Providentia deorum mundus adminis- 
tratur. "By the providence of the gods the world is 
governed ;" i. e., earthly things are administered by a 
divine Providence, viz., that which foresees and provides. 

Some of the above definitions, such as foresight, fore- 
cast, apply to providens, seeing before, or what is before ; 
spoken in reference to a person who is proceeding on 
his way, another following. But both these propositions 
are often used in the same sense. We also may use 
them indifferently, or thus : The Divine Providence is 
that which sees beforehand what is to occur ; and having 
thus foreseen what will occur, sees for the person or 

VOL. III. o 


perspns who may be objects of those occurrences. 
Whatever may be thought of what is implied in these 
distinctions, they are true concerning the thing. God's 
providence is that which foresees every occurrence ; and 
by all, is providing for the preservation of the earth, its 
productions, and inhabitants ; and for the welfare, com- 
fort, and final happiness of all them that put their trust 
in him. In a word, God, as he made, so he governs the 
world. Though he regulates all things by general laws, 
yet those laws have their being and active energy from 
himself. But general laws do not provide for all parti- 
cular cases; hence it ever requires the ever-directing 
energy of the omnipresent God to give those laws their 
particular direction in all especial cases; to suit their 
operation to those cases, and thus evidence at once both 
his wisdom and goodness. And because he can inter- 
vene and interfere in any case, and in all cases where 
his wisdom and his benevolence see proper ; hence he 
has left ample room for prayer and supplication, the 
voice of which he will ever hear with affectionate kind- 
ness ; and thus in the headlong course of a rapid occur- 
rence, he can stay, alter, suspend, accelerate, or retard 
the thing, which in many cases would have an unfriendly 
operation in some individual instances, as to make it 
work for good, without preventing the proper effect of 
its general tendency. Thus, by his particular providence, 
at the prayer of his servant Joshua, he caused the sun 
and moon to stand still for the length of a whole day, 
without in the least disturbing any of the other planets, 
altering the seasons, or ultimately preventing the benefi- 
cent effect of the general laws by which he governed 
them ; so easy is it for Omnipotence' to accomplish any 
end he pleases by any means he chooses to use, or by 
his own almighty fiat or volition, independently of in- 
struments or means : — for even if he use an instrument, 


it is nothing without his hand ; and if he use what are 
called means, they are nothing, unless he give them 
direction and energy. He must be a humble philosopher 
indeed, who can suppose that means and instruments 
can do anything of themselves, or produce any effect, 
unless the power of God give them energy and direction. 
For what is any being or thing more than inert matter, 
when not under the influence of the power and wisdom 
of Him by whom they were all created, and by whom 
they all subsist ? 

In the whole compass of nature, in the vast round of 
eternity, there can be but one first mover — one self- 
existing, independent Nature ; consequently but one 
First Cause. All that exist besides are simple effects of 
this First Cause, and are continually dependent on it for 
their existence. The heavenly bodies, their motions and 
various affections ; the earth, and all its various produc- 
tions; the influence of gravity; vegetation, and its 
wondrous variety ; the nutrition of animal bodies ; the 
human frame, so curiously wrought ; the circulation of 
the blood ; the process of respiration ; the self-locomotive 
principle ; muscular motion, and 10,000 other wonderful 
things that are occurring everywhere in the heavens, and 
the earth, and the sea, and in all that in them is, which, 
while their operations are manifest, and their effects 
beneficent, all declaring the wisdom, the power, and the 
goodness of God, as the Creator and Preserver, show at 
the same time the all-pervading energy of his provi- 
dence, and, through it, his most tender and paternal care 
over his intelligent creatures ; and the concern that he 
feels for the due support and preservation of all those 
creatures, animate and inanimate, which, under him, 
minister to their necessities, convenience, and comfort. 
And while we ourselves are both the subjects and the 
witnesses of these most manifest operations, we cannot 

o 2 


disgover their internal agency, the laws or principles by 
which they are governed, nor that hand,, except in its 
effects, by which the whole machinery is preserved and 
directed. We are therefore obliged to cry out, that this 
most manifest and beneficent Providence is, in its prin- 
ciples, " a great deep." It is as incomprehensible as the 
nm ainn tehom rabba of Moses, to which the Psalmist 
here evidently alludes, Gen. i. 2, the chaos, or great 
abyss, or first matter of all things ; the vast profound, or 
what is below all conjecturable profundity. This " great 
deep" is God's place of working, containing the mate- 
rials out of which he frames worlds ; every particle of 
which becomes an agent in his hands of producing some 
effect, by which his being, providence, and loving-kind- 
ness become manifest to all them who have eyes to see, 
and hearts to feel, that " he worketh all things after the 
counsel of his own will, and causeth all those things to 
work together for good to them that love him." 

If Mr. Addison's words, already quoted, refer to those 
hidden principles, and God's method of working, they 
are generally correct, though too strongly expressed; 
but if they refer to the operation of God's hands in the 
work and dispensations of Providence, they are perfectly 
incorrect and reprehensible; for they are neither dark 
nor intricate, nor puzzled with mazes, nor perplexed 
with error. He who employs his understanding in 
searching into the economy of Divine Providence will 
find providential work enough sufficiently evident to 
show that the Divine Operator is at hand — that he is 
seeing, before they can become manifest to men, every 
occurrence — and seeing for the safety, comfort, and wel- 
fare of all his intelligent creatures, and especially for 
those who trust in him. They acknowledge him in all 
their ways, and he directs all their steps. He knows all 
the wants of his creatures ; and therefore he provides 


grass for the cattle, and corn for the service of man. He 
foresees the dangers to which man is exposed, and there- 
fore provides for him. Seeing before refers to the evolu- 
tion and occurrence of events. Seeing for refers to the 
creature, its wants and its dangers, who may be the 
object of those occurrences. His eye ever affects his 
heart ; and his heart ever dictates to his hand ; and its 
plenitude of blessings is dispensed according to that 
judgment and discernment which know what is neces- 
sary, and the time and place in which the supply will be 
most efficient. 

The supply will be provided; and for this we may 
and should confidently pray ; but the quantum, and the 
time, and the place we should leave most implicitly to 
God's wisdom and paternal care. Perhaps the measure 
which we may wish for may be too little or too much — 
God alone knows the requisite quantity. Perhaps the 
time in which we wish to have the bounty or the deli- 
verance may not be that in which these things may be 
most beneficial ; and probably the place which we might 
choose is not that in which the blessing may become so 
manifest, as to promote the increase of our own faith 
and gratitude, the manifestation of God's glory, and the 
edification of our neighbour. All these things should 
therefore be left entirely to him. We should not choose ; 
he cannot err. 

But because we cannot comprehend how God sees 
beforehand what is coming, and how he sees for us, who 
may be oppressed by wants and overwhelmed by dan- 
gers, a word or two on this subject may serve to bring 
our fluttering, incredulous hearts into a state, at least of 
submissive repose, if not of exulting confidence. 

1. God is a Being infinitely wise, powerful, and good. 

2. He existed from eternity, and will exist to eter 


3. He exists everywhere, in and throughout all times. 

4.* He is the Maker, Preserver, and Governor of all 

Now as infinitely wise, he knows what is best to be 
done. As infinitely powerful, he can do whatever he 
sees to be best. As existing from eternity to eternity, 
he is everywhere present. As he is the Preserver and 
Governor of all things, his energy is everywhere ; and 
he knows and upholds all things, because he is present 
with and sees all things. Add to this, — 

5. He is infinitely good, and calls himself the Father 
of the spirits of all flesh ; and he is especially called in 
his own word QiKavBpianoQ, the Philanthropist — the Lover 
of man ; and his disposition towards his human offspring 
is termed QiKavOpwiria, Tit. iii. 4, Philanthropy ; and if 
his mercy, his tender mercy, be over all his works, then 
he must be peculiarly attached to and careful of man, 
because his noblest work ; and as he knows that, from 
the present constitution of the world, many changes and 
chances (occurrences) will take place in the world, which 
may be pregnant with natural evils to man, and which 
the wisest of the sons of men can neither foresee nor 
prevent ; it follows, from his avowed love to men, that 
he must ever be careful of them, as he is loving to them ; 
hence he will, absolutely will, employ his wisdom and 
power to direct and protect them. This he does by his 
providence, and on this they may confidently depend. 

As the man who is present with the windmill, and 
sees the sails revolving by the influence of the wind, 
knows that if his ignorant child came in the place where 
the sails revolve, he must be killed by the stroke of 
either of them; will, when he sees him running into 
the danger, snatch him from the place where the danger 
is apparent : so can God, who is everywhere present, 
and knows and sees all dangers, snatch his heedless and 


ignorant child out of the way, or lay, or even throw him 
down, that the danger may pass over him. And this 
accounts for the innumerable hair-breadth escapes, by 
which men are so often preserved from death, to their 
own surprise and astonishment; and after all, scarcely 
think of that benign Providence by which they have 
been preserved ! 

Multitudes of anecdotes and relations may be found to 
illustrate this. The Rev. Bernard Gilpin, was in the 
time of the Marian popish persecution, Hector of Hough- 
ton-le -Spring. He was a man of exemplary piety, and 
of pastoral diligence. He had a waste to cultivate, and 
he did it most faithfully : and having sowed the good 
seed of the kingdom in it, it brought forth fruit to the 
glory of God. He saw the clergy everywhere indolent, 
ignorant, and profligate ; he inveighed against those 
vices : and this procured him many adversaries. After 
several citations before the Bishop of Durham (Dr. 
Tonstall), on a variety of accusations brought against 
him by the popish clergy, from which he was honour- 
ably acquitted ; his enemies thought it their surest way 
• to bring the charges of heresy, &c. before that human 
Jknd, and enemy of all righteousness, the murderous 
Bishop Bonner. They did so in thirty-two articles : the 
prey was suited to the jaws of such a wolf: — "he ap- 
plauded the laudable concern which Mr. Gilpin's accu- 
sers showed for religion, pronounced that the heretic 
should be at the stake in a fortnight." Soon Bonner's 
messengers arrested him, aDd carried him off for London, 
On the journey, his leg, by an accident, so called, was 
broken : and being obliged to be put under medical care, 
as he could not travel with a broken leg, a stop was put 
to the journey. The person in whose custody he was, 
took occasion thence to retort upon him an observation 
he would frequently make, " That nothing happens to 


us but what is intended for good ;" asking him, whether 
he thought his broken leg was so ? He answered meekly, 
" He made no question that it was." And behold the 
event ! Before his leg was so far mended as to be fit to 
resume his journey, God sent for Mary to her own place, 
the bloody persecution was stopped, and Mr. Gilpin re- 
turned to his parish and his flock. 

Behold the providence of God ! His eye was on his 
faithful servant, and his hand was extended in his help. 
To save his life in a way on which no violent alteration 
should take place in the course of events, under the di- 
rection of a general providence; he, by a particular 
providence, permitted his leg to be broken in a merely 
natural way, and thus saved the life of one whom he 
loved ! This case may illustrate many others. Often 
apparent accidents take place, for which we are unable 
to account ; because we do not see the end of the Lord ; 
but eternity will explain all this. Many persons have 
been stretched on beds of affliction to place them out of 
the way of such evils as would have destroyed their lives, 
had they been capable of fulfilling the duties of active 
life : and many have, no doubt, had their legs broken 
under the superintendence of a particular providence, 
which became the means of saving their necks ! God is 
as merciful in all his works, as he is wise in all his ways. 
By how many ways does the most merciful God prevent 
us from destroying our own lives, and bringing our souls 
to ruin! See this subject beautifully illustrated by 
Elihu, Job xxxiii. 14—30, " Lo, all these things work- 
eth God oftentimes with man, to bring back his soul 
from the pit, to be enlightened with the light of the 
living." How wise and instructive is the advice of Dr. 

" With patient mind thy course of duty run ; 
God nothing does, or suffers to be done 


But thou wouldst do thyself, couldst thou but see 
The end of all events as well as he." 

But before we close this part of the subject, some re- 
marks should be made on the dispensations of God's 
providence in respect to various changes in the atmo- 
sphere, and in what is termed inclement weather, tem- 
pestuous winds, severe frosts, heavy snows, and such like. 

On all such subjects it might be sufficient to say, that 
summer and winter, seed-time and harvest, heat and 
cold, are all ordained by the most wise and gracious 
God : and, that as he made all things at the beginning, 
and pronounced them very good, so he continues to go- 
vern them by the same wisdom, and regulate them with 
the same goodness. And it is not saying too much, 
when we assert, that since God created the heavens and 
the earth, there has not been one drop of water too much, 
nor one too little, poured out upon the earth when we 
take the average sum, and the average of the necessities 
of the earth, its productions and inhabitants. And, 
although it is supposed by many unreflecting people, that 
a wise providence is not very apparent in the proportion 
that the watery parts of the globe bear to the earthy 
parts ; that the former, when compared with the latter, 
is as seventeen to three ; i. e., that there are seventeen 
times more water than earth on the surface of the globe ; 
yet, when the necessity of rains, mists, dews, &c, for 
watering the surface of the earth, is considered, and that 
these are formed by evaporation from the watery surface ; 
and, that on an average it requires so much watery sur- 
face to produce by evaporation such a quantity of mois- 
ture adequate to irrigate such a measure of earthy sur- 
face, in order to afford sufficient nourishment by vegetation, 
for the plants and animals which live on it : and that it 
has been determined by most accurate experiments, that 
it requires the evaporation from seventeen parts of watery 



surface to impregnate those parts of earthy surface, in 
order to cause a sufficiency of grass to grow for the cat- 
tle, and corn and esculent plants for the nourishment of 
man ; we shall find that the seeming disproportion is an 
exact proportion; and that the two surfaces bear the 
strictest relation to each other, as fully to manifest a dis- 
cerning wisdom, and merciful Providence. 

It is true, that objections have been made to this state- 
ment ; but they have been sufficiently answered and re- 
futed. The objection says, " What need was there that 
the sea should he made so large ? Where is the wisdom 
of the Creator, in making so much useless sea, and so 
little dry land ? Might not, at least, half the sea have 
been spared, and added to the land for the maintenance 
of men, who by their continual striving and fighting to 
enlarge their bounds, and encroaching upon one another, 
seem to be straitened for want of room ? To this it has 
been answered, 

" This, as most others of the atheist's arguments, pro- 
ceeds from a deep ignorance of natural philosophy. For, 
if there were but half the sea that now is, there would 
be also but half the quantity of vapours, and consequently 
we could have but half so many rivers as now there are to 
supply all the dry land we have at present, and half as 
much more. For the quantity of vapours which are raised, 
bear a proportion to the surface whence they are raised, 
as well as to the heat which raised them. The wise 
Creator, therefore, did so prudently order it, that the sea 
should be large enough to supply vapours sufficient for 
all the land, which it could not do if it were less than 
now it is."— Ray's Wisdom of God in Creation, p. 91, 92.* 

* Dr. Halley has made several curious experiments on evapora- 
tion. This is the result. Every 10 square inches of the surface 
of the water yield each day, a cubic inch of water by evaporation : 


There is another proof of this -wisdom little noticed, 
though the fact is manifest to all. That the winds ge- 
nerally blow from the sea on the land (in this country 
I can state from observation), generally three-fourths of 
the year, that the vapours which are raised by the heat 
of the sun may not, when condensed by the cold, fall 
back into the sea again, but be carried to the dry land, 
for which Divine Providence designed them. " And 
this appears from the trees which grow on, and near the 
sea-shores, all along the western coasts of England whose 
heads and boughs (as Mr. Ray also observed) run out far 
to land-ward ; but towards the sea, they were snubbed 
by the winds, as if their boughs and leaves had been 
pared or shaven off, on that side." See above. 

As to storms and tempests, even the common opinion 
is generally correct ; they tend, by strongly agitating the 
atmosphere, to purify the air ; to dissipate stagnant and 
noxious vapours, unfriendly to animal life, and often 
loaded with matter, impregnated with the seeds of vari- 
ous diseases, which, were it not for these providential 
remedies, would serve in time to depopulate the earth. 
For the atmosphere is strongly impregnated with noxious 
gases, rising from the decomposition of putrid animal 
and vegetable substances; the purification of common 
atmospheric air, by such means, is essential to animal 

As to cold, of which men usually complain so much, 

and each square foot, half a wine pint : every space of four feet 
square, a gallon : a mile square, 6914 tons ; and a square degree 
of 69 miles will evaporate 33,000,000 of tons. 

Evaporation is the means which God employs to raise water 
from the ocean, to irrigate the dry land ; and provide ample fluid 
for the necessities of animals and vegetables, over the face of tb# 


it condenses the sap (and other) vessels of trees, plants, 
and vegetables, gives them rest, that their whole vigour 
may not be exhausted by rapid vegetation on the one 
hand, and gives the soil rest to recruit its strength, that 
it may furnish, when genial heat comes, a more healthy 
nourishment for vegetables in general on the other : and 
thus, while a premature growth is prevented, the gradual 
increase and perfection of trees, plants, &c. are secured. 

As to freezing, and its produce — ice, this is a very 
general blessing; especially in clayey soils. All the 
moisture in the ground is converted into minute icicles ; 
and as ice occupies much more space than the moisture 
from which it is formed, it divides the particles of earth, 
which had been baked together, and thereby rendered 
utterly unfit for vegetation ; but now being torn asunder 
by the ice, the whole mass is mellowed, and converted 
into fine vegetable mould, so as to afford appropriate 
nourishment for the grain which is deposited in it. 
Without this, stiff lands would become nearly barren. 
Frost is God's plough, which he drives through all the 
particles of the soil, and thus breaks up the ground, di- 
viding it in all its parte, separating and pulverizing it in 
such a way as human industry, skill, and labour could 
never effect. The ploughshare is limited in its opera- 
tions ; the harrow on certain soils may dislodge and pull 
about the great masses which the ploughshare has turned 
over ; but neither can effect their pulverization : but the 
almost imperceptible ploughshare of the Almighty pene- 
trates everywhere, and does in many cases nine parts 
out of ten of the labour of the husbandman. 

And as to the snow, which he giveth like wool, it de- 
scends upon the frozen ground, prevents the too rigid 
effects of intense cold, so that the icy particles may not, 
by increase of their volume, rupture the finer sap vessels, 
and thus destroy the plant. It is, indeed, like wool ; it 


forms a warm covering for plants and roots, and does 
not suffer too much of the natural caloric, or matter of 
heat, to be dissipated ; so that the plants have not only 
not been injured, but have actually been benefited, as 
we find on the thaw, that they have increased and have 
become more vigorous, even during a long intensity of 
cold ! 0, what cares does God employ in preserving 
man and beast ! 

He sendeth forth his commandment on the earth : 

His word runneth very swiftly. 

He giveth snow like wool. 

He scattereth the hoar-frost like ashes : 

Who can stand before his cold ? 

But he sendeth out his word, and melteth them : 

He causeth the wind to blow, and the waters -flow.* 

Psalm cxlvii. 15 — 18. 

* Ice is known to be lighter than the water of which it is com- 
posed, for it floats on water, and its specific gravity, being to that 
of water as 8 to 9. And the augmentation of the volume of 
water by freezing, is on an average, an 18th part. But sometimes, 
by intense freezing, the water that was at first a 14th part specifi- 
cally lighter than water, became a 12th. part lighter. The degree 
of expansion is estimated by some philosophers at one-tenth of its 
volume. In the action of freezing, water expands with such force 
as to be capable of rending rocks, and bursting the very thick 
shells of mortars ; and it has been determined by well-conducted 
experiments, that in freezing, one cubic inch of water is sufficient 
to overcome the resistance of 27,000 pounds, or 13 tons and a half; 
which is a power of expansion almost double that of the most pow- 
erful steam engines. And this prodigious expansive power appears 
to be occasioned by air bubbles extricated from the water durin^ 
its freezing. 

The strong barrel of a gun, filled with water, and frozen, the 
barrel being strongly plugged at the mouth and touch-hole, rent the 
barrel at its whole length. Bomb-shells filled with water, and 
plugged (the plug being driven in by a sledge-hammer), in freezing, 
the plug was driven out to the distance of 400 or 500 feet, though 


III. The operations of God's Grace in the endless 
salvation of men, are not less conspicuous than his pro- 
vidential care in the support and preservation of their 

If the psalmist was before astonished at the mercy, 
faithfulness, righteousness, and providence of God, most 
impressively displayed in behalf of the great human fa- 
mily ; he is in raptures at the works of his grace in the 
salvation of their souls : " How excellent," exclaims he, 
"is thy loving-kindness, O God!" The original is both 
impressive and emphatic : a-nbx von ip* m mah yakar 
chasdeca Elohim, " How splendid is thy exuberant kind- 
ness, O God !" iron* tbjs bva mx «aai ubeney Adam 
betsal cenapheycayechesayun, "therefore, the sons of Adam 
shall firmly put their trust under the shadow of thy 

The word -ip- yakar, which we translate excellent, sig- 
nifies splendour, glory, brightness : where there is light 
without mixture of darkness, ion chesed, which we 
render loving-kindness, signifies outpouring, over/lowing, 
exuberant, and is a metaphor taken from a perennial 
spring, a well that never grows dry, a camel that con- 
stantly gives milk. 

o-in <:3 beney adam, mankind in general, or, the de- 
scendents of Adam, the first rebel, the worthless being. 
iron* yeckesayun, " They shall firmly trust, take refuge, and 

the weight of the plug was nearly 3 pounds ! and through the hole 
whence the plug was expelled, there arose suddenly, a bit of ice of 
the same diameter, to the height of more than eight inches. The 
expansive force in such freezing has been computed by mathemati- 
cians, as sufficient to raise a weight of 27,7201bs. What effects 
must this produce in arable soils! Even stones are broken to 
pieces and pulverized by it, and after this process become an in- 
tegral part of the soil, and add to its depth and fertility. 


find safety." In the word, I consider the final, or what is 
called the paragogic nun, i, as deepening and extending 
the meaning ; they shall not only put their trust, but they 
shall confidently and firmly trust, fearing neither evil nor 
disappointment. Y3" Vo, "under the shadow of thy 
wings," is a metaphor taken from the young of fowls, 
running under the wings of their mother, in order to find 
warmth, and protection. This figure is not uncommon 
in Scripture. Ruth ii. 12; Ps. xvii. 8, lvii. 1, Ixi. 4, 
xci. 4. When the Holy Spirit borrows an image or a 
metaphor, taken from natural things, with whose pro- 
perties men are well-acquainted ; the most prominent or 
essential of those properties, we may be assured, are 
those which the Holy Spirit designs : for he does not de- 
sign that every property should be pressed into the illus- 

1. We have here God's loving-kindness pointed out 
;is the source of our salvation ; and is tantamount to the 
saying of our Lord, " God so loved the world, that he 
gave his only-begotten Son, that they who believe on 
him should not perish, but have everlasting life." His 
love is the fountain ; but it is a love or tenderness of af- 
fection, which is manifested in a very affecting and abun- 
dant manner. It is an overflowing and ever-running 
fountain — the stream from it is both large and deep : it 
is ever swelling, and ever diffusing itself, so as to spread 
itself over the whole earth, and reach every human being ; 
as the poet says : — 

" Its streams the whole creation reach, 

So plenteous is the store ; 
Enough for all, enough for each, 

Enough for evermore." 

It is " the fountain opened to the house of David, and 
to the inhabitants of Jerusalem for sin and for unclean- 
ness," Zech. xiii. 1. It is the pure river of the water 


of life, that proceeds out of the throne of God and the 
lanrb, to drink of which all human souls are invited ; 
" the Spirit and the bride say, Come ; and let him that 
heareth say, Come ; and let him that is athirst, come ; 
and whosoever will, let him come, and take the water of 
life freely," Rev. xxii. 1, 17. But we get a still more 
encouraging view of this source of life, from a very correct 
and substantial criticism on the original, from those learned 
men, who derive the Hebrew word -mn chasad, from a 
cognate term, if not its. very radix in Arabic, <x£cs. ha- 
shada, " to be full of juice, ready to flow out, to flow 
together from all sides, a spring always flowing with fresh 
supplies of water ;" applied to a camel which may be 
continually milked without growing dry. See Golius. 
Schultens, and Vander Hogan's notes on Golius. 

This teaches us indeed the loving-kindness of the 
Lord, and the utmost ability to bring this loving-kind- 
ness into action ; so that the will and power- of this divine 
Being to crown his creature man with every blessing, 
even to load him with his kindness, are unquestionable. 
The fountain never fails : " Whosoever believes in 
him, out of his belly," as the Scripture hath said, " shall 
flow rivers of living Water." An upright soul can never 
come in vain to this Father of mercies ; such may alway 
come unto his fulness, and find grace upon grace. The 
metaphor taken from the milch camel, which may be ever 
milked, and never grow dry, speaks more than a hundred 
pages of comment on this passage. 

2. But this exuberant goodness is said to be excellent 
— it surpasses all other goodness ; there is nothing like 
it on earth ; it exceeds all that is found in heaven. It 
is full of splendour and glorious brightness ; it commu- 
nicates life and light. In this light we see light, yea, 
the light of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. 
Knowledge, power, and happiness are incessantly dis- 


pensed to all true believers, from the bosom of the God 
and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. 

In short, if we take up the excellence as implying that 
which surpasses in worth, in utility, in splendour, in 
majesty, and durability, everything to which the name of 
excellence has been applied; then there is nothing on 
earth, and nothing in heaven, nothing in time, and 
nothing in eternity, that can be accounted its equal. It 
must therefore constitute the supreme good of men and 
of angels ; and no wonder, when it is the infinite benefi- 
cence of God, pouring out by acts of unwearied kind- 
ness, its exuberance of light, life, and power, on angels 
and men. For this glorious being, our Father, who is 
in heaven, causeth his sun to rise on the evil and on the 
good ; and sendeth this rain in showers of blessings on 
the just and on the unjust. It is indescribably excel- 
lent, abundant, and free. 

IV, — 1. The Psalmist mentions one grand effect of the 
manifestation of this loving-kindness ; to the exciting 
men to repose confidence in this divine Being, in refer- 
ence to their happiness, in time and eternity : " There- 
fore the children of men put their trust under the shadow 
of thy wings." Men are taught by the proofs of God's 
goodness (1) To trust in the divine providence for the 
preservation and supply of their bodies ; (2) To trust in 
his mercy for the salvation of their souls. A kind pro- 
vidence and an abundant mercy are, following the meta- 
phor in the text, the two wings of that celestial benevo- 
lence under which the children of men are induced to 
take refuge. The text says, the children of Adam, not 
merely mankind or the human race generally, but the 
fallen degenerate offspring of a rebellious and fallen parent. 
Here is hope for sinners, for this God wills not their 
perdition ; his long-suffering leads them to repentance ; 


and were it not this as an anchor of hope, through 
the manifested Christ, what sinner, having a due 
sight and sense of his worthlessness and wickedness, 
could ever dare to expect salvation ? The allusion here 
may be to the wings of the cherubim, overshadowing the 
mercy-seat. The mercy-seat is the throne of God, and 
God is exalted in sitting on that throne of mercy. His 
sitting there shows that he delights in mercy — that his 
government is a series of merciful acts ; and of this view 
of the subject St. Paul makes this most important use, 
Heb. iv. 16 : " Let us therefore come boldly to the throne 
of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to 
help in time of need." 

2. The happiness that may be derived from such a 
confidence : — 

(1) "They shall be abundantly satisfied with the fat- 
ness of thy house." This supposes that they are the 
family of God, his domestics and his children, the babes, 
the young men, and the fathers. He is their father, to 
clothe, feed, and defend them ; their master, to employ 
them, to show them the work that he has given them to 
do, to instruct them in its natures, and to see that they do 
it in his way and spirit, and in reference to his glory. His 
work is no slavery ; his commands are not grievous. His 
commands are those of a Father ; they are under the law 
to Christ, and his yoke is easy, and his burden is light. 
Their master is their Father, whom they cannot but re- 
spect and reverence. He is their most tender and com- 
passionate Father, whom they cannot but love, and whom 
it is then highest privilege to obey, because they love 
him. His house is their home; his service is perfect 
freedom; his presence in this house is ever felt; his 
table is ever spread. Its ordinances are their delight, for 
" he abundantly blesses its provisions ; and he satisfies 
his poor with bread." His house is also his church, and 


its ordinances are its services. The bread of God is on 
its table; and its chief ministers, the principal servants 
of the house, dispense that bread — the bread that came 
down from heaven, and was given for the life of the 
world. There the true paschal lamb is eaten; and they 
who in a true separation of spirit from the things of this 
world, eat it with their staves in their hands, their loins 
girded, and their sandals on, are plentifully fed with the 
fatness, abundance, and excellence of the feast. The 
text says, " They shall be abundantly satisfied," pi' yere- 
viyun, they shall be saturated, as a thirsty field is by 
showers from heaven. Itiebriabuntur, they shall be ine- 
briated. — Vulgate. " They shall have as much of God's 
goodness as they can receive, as much as they can wish. 
They shall be filled with all the fulness of God. He 
will cast out all evil, and fill the whole land with his 
purity. Every want and every wish being supplied and 
satisfied, they will be truly happy, God being now their 
full, supreme, and everlasting portion. 

(2) " Thou shalt make them drink of the river of thy 
pleasures." As meat and drink, wholesome solids and 
fluids, constitute all that is necessary to complete the 
whole nourishment of the animal nature of man, or 
what the body requires in order to its growth, strength, 
and perfection to the grace of God ; and the influences of 
the divine Spirit comprise all that is requisite to feed 
the soul, and cause it to grow up into Jesus Christ in all 
things : hence, in reference to wholesome bread for the 
body's nourishment, the fatness of God's house is men- 
tioned ; and in reference to the fluid that man takes to 
digest his food and quench his thirst, the text says, " He 
will cause them to drink of the river of his pleasures." 
There is an allusion here to man's happy state in para- 
dise. The garden of Eden produced all fruits which 
were necessary to man's nourishment and support, while 


in his state of innocence ; and there was " a river that 
went out of Eden to water the garden." In this garden 
God caused to grow every tree that was pleasant to the 
sight and good for food ; and the tree of life also was in 
the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge, 
Gen. ii. 8 — 10. Now as py Eden signifies pleasure or 
delight, so T3iv edeneyca, thy pleasures or delights, inti- 
mates that they were such pleasures as suited heavenly 
natures, and such pleasures or delights as God had pre- 
pared for such natures. But instead of the plural num- 
ber, -\-ny bm nachal edeneyca, "the river of thy pleasures ;" 
four good MSS. have Toy bm nachal Edenca, " the river 
of thy Eden," denoting that their paradisaical state should 
be restored, that the holiness and happiness which they 
had lost by the fall, should be restored to them by and 
through him, who was the highest gift that proceeded 
from the exuberant fountain of God's eternal mercy. 

Some have thought by thy house might be intended 
the temple, as the type of the church of Christ, and the 
gracious influences of God to be had in his ordinances ; 
and that these were typified by those streams by which 
that garden was watered, and its fertility promoted. 
Thus God gives them to understand that they shall, 
through the grace of the gospel, be restored to as much 
communion with God, and mental happiness as their 
forefathers had with him in their state of innocence. 

(3) But as God is the author of being, so is he the 
source and fountain of happiness ; and this happiness 
is only derived to holy souls in consequence of their 
union with him. God does not detach blessings from 
himself, and give them to his followers : no, he gives 
those blessings in giving himself. He that dwelleth in 
love dwelleth in God, and God in him. And the bodies 
of genuine believers are temples of the Holy Ghost. 
Hence the Psalmist adds, — 


(4) " With thee is the fountain of life." As the cir- 
culation of the blood in man, and the heart the medium 
of that circulation, are essential to human life, so is God 
the origin of all good, essential to the comfort and sal- 
vation of every human being. Little as the reader may 
be prepared to expect it, here is an allusion to the circu- 
lation of the blood, and the pulsations of the heart as its 
origin. For with thee, n"n ttpa vnekor chayim, is the 
vein of lives. In the human body this is the great 
aorta, or arteria magna, which arises with a single trunk 
from the left ventricle of the heart above its semilunar 
valves, and serves to convey the mass of blood to all 
parts of the body. All the veins discharge themselves 
into the ventricles of the heart, from which all the 
arteries arise. The blood expelled out of the right ven- 
tricle by the contraction of the heart, is carried through 
the pulmonary artery into the lungs, where, influenced 
by the atmospheric air, it receives its red colour, it returns 
by the pulmonary veins to the left ventricle ; the blood 
thus brought back in a fit state to nourish the whole 
system, is, by the contraction of that part, again expelled 
into the aorta, or great artery, and by it distributed all 
over the rest of the body ; and being received at the ex- 
tremities by the veins, which there inosculate with the 
terminating fine branches of the arteries, which all spring 
from the great aorta, are returned by the vena cava, 
from which all the veins proceed to the right ventricle 
of the heart, which completes the circulation. This is 
the vein or fountain of life. And as without this foun- 
tain of life there could be no circulation of the blood, so 
without this circulation there could be no life. God, by 
his energy, is to the whole being what the heart, by its 
arteries and veins, is to the whole man. But here he is 
said to be the vein or artery of lives ; that is, of both ani- 
mal and spiritual life ; for as an animal and as a spiritual 


being, rnan subsists by the energy of God ; for with or 
in him all the principles of both lives are found, as the 
apostle says, " In him we live and move, and have our 
being." Thus are we every moment dependent on him 
for our being and for our blessings ; and should under- 
stand that every pulsation of our hearts is a proof of his 
presence and of his energy. 

(5) The Psalmist concludes this part of his grand de- 
scription of God and the privileges ofhis followers, with, 
'• In thy light shall we see light." Here the metaphor 
is changed. Above, God is compared to the heart, dis- 
tributing the life-sustaining blood through the whole 
human system ; but in this clause of the verse, he is 
represented as the sun in the midst of heaven, or in that 
place which is emphatically called the solar system, dif- 
fusing both light and heat to all the planets which consti- 
tute it, and revolve round him ; and as all the inhabitants 
of those several worlds have their light from him, so they 
may all say, " In his light we see light ;" and as he is in 
his system, so is God in the universe, and especially in 
the intellectual world. The light of reason, of intellect ; 
the light of knowledge and all its objects ; the light of 
science and arts ; of conscience ; of his word, and of his 
Spirit ; that light which not only gives spiritual know- 
ledge, but also the capacity to attain it. It is by his 
light that the way to the kingdom of heaven is discerned, 
and also the light of his own glory in the face of Jesus 
Christ, who assures us, that " he who followeth him shall 
not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life." 
In a word, it is by him, as the light of the world, that 
Ave see ourselves to be lost, and that we see and feel the 
need of a Saviour. In the beginning, when the heavens 
and the earth were created, and when darkness was on 
the face of the deep, God, who is light, and in whom 
no darkness at all can dwell, said, "Let there be light, 


and there was light." By that Cause of all being, light 
and knowledge, the eye of the newly-born man was 
enabled to behold the works of God, and the beauties of 
the creation ; so when God speaks light into the sin- 
darkened heart of man, he not only beholds his own de- 
formity, and also his need of salvation, but he sees " the 
light of God's glory in the face of Jesus Christ " — God 
in Christ, reconciling the world to himself — and it is 
by him, communicating light and life, that we see how 
to walk, so as to phase God. If we be conformed to 
the image of God within, we shall be conformed to the 
law of God without. It is only the obedient that walk 
in the light of the Lord. If we walk in the light, as he 
is in the light, we shall have fellowship with him, and 
feel that the blood of Jesus Christ his Son, cleanseth 
us from all unrighteousness. 


In the preceding discourse we have seen God in his 
majesty and in his mercy ; in his providence and in his 
salvation. His goodness to all has been manifest ; and 
his tender mercy has bee"n seen over all his works. 
Everywhere we see the omnipotent and skilful hand 
of the Creator; everywhere we see the benevolent hand 
of the Father of the Spirits of all flesh. There are 
general blessings for all, even the unthankful and the 
unholy ; there are particular and especial blessings for 
all them that put their trust in him, and walk humbly 
and uprightly before him. 

I. To all God is good ; this is seen in his bounty, 
justice, and faithfulness; and through the whole reign of 
his providence. In his address to him, the Psalmist 

1. " Thy mercy, O Lord, is in the heavens ;" thou pre- 
servest them. 


2. " Thy faithfulness reacheth unto the clouds ;" they 
water the earth as thou hast appointed. 

3. " Thy righteousness is like the great mountains ;" 

4. " Thy judgments are a great deep ;" unsearchable, 
and past finding out. 

5. " Thou, Lord, preservest man and beast ;" in thee 
all live, and move, and have their being ; thou openest 
thy hand, and all things are filled with plenteousness. 
Thou carest for oxen, thou feedest the young ravens when 
they cry ; and not even a sparrow can fall to the ground 
without thy notice. 

II. To his followers, God is especially good. 1. To 
them he is excellent ; he is their portion, and they are 
his inheritance, so he is pleased to term them. 2. He 
gives them hope, confidence, and comfort. They can 
put their trust under the shadow of his wings ; they are 
especial objects of his providential mercies, and of his 
saving and preserving grace. 3. The effect of this is, 
they have plenty of all good things. 4. They are satis- 
fied with the fatness of his house ; they are his family, 
and they have the children's portion. 5. Their Eden is 
restored, and they drink of the fountain of life, and 
enjoy those pleasures that flow in the river that makes 
glad the city of God. 6. They have light in all their 
dwellings ; and it shines more and more to the perfect 
day. Happy are the people that are in such a case ; 
yea, thrice happy are they who have Jehovah for their 
God. We may well confidently sing : — 

Not all the powers of hell can fright 
A soul that walks with Christ in light : 

He walks and cannot fall ; 
Clearly he sees and wins his way, 
Shining unto the perfect day, 
And more than conquers all. 


Light of the world, thy beams I bless ! 
On thee, bright sun of righteousness, 

My faith hath fixed its eye ; 
Guided by thee, through all I go, 
Nor fear the ruin spread below, 

For thou art always nigh . 

Ten thousand snares my path beset ; 
Yet will I Lord, the work complete, 

Which thou to me hast given ; 
Regardless of the pain I feel, 
Close by the gates of death and hell, 

I urge my way to heaven. 



2. " Thy faithfulness reacheth unto the clouds ;" they 
water the earth as thou hast appointed. 

3. " Thy righteousness is like the great mountains ;" 

4. " Thy judgments are a great deep ;" unsearchable, 
and past finding out. 

5. " Thou, Lord, preservest man and beast ;" in thee 
all live, and move, and have their being ; thou openest 
thy hand, and all things are filled with plenteousness. 
Thou carest for oxen, thou feedest the young ravens when 
they cry ; and not even a sparrow can fall to the ground 
without thy notice. 

II. To his followers, God is especially good. 1. To 
them he is excellent ; he is their portion, and they are 
his inheritance, so he is pleased to term them. 2. He 
gives them hope, confidence, and comfort. They can 
put their trust under the shadow of his wings ; they are 
especial objects of his providential mercies, and of his 
saving and preserving grace. 3. The effect of this is, 
they have plenty of all good things. 4. They are satis- 
fied with the fatness of his house ; they are his family, 
and they have the children's portion. 5. Their Eden is 
restored, and they drink of the fountain of life, and 
enjoy those pleasures that flow in the river that makes 
glad the city of God. 6. They have light in all their 
dwellings ; and it shines more and more to the perfect 
day. Happy are the people that are in such a case ; 
yea, thrice happy are they who have Jehovah for their 
God. We may well confidently sing : — 

Not all the powers of hell can fright 
A soul that walks with Christ in light : 

He walks and cannot fall ; 
Clearly he sees and wins his way, 
Shining unto the perfect day, 
And more than conquers all. 


Light of the world, thy beams I bless 
On thee, bright sun of righteousness, 

My faith hath fixed its eye ; 
Guided by thee, through all 1 go, 
Nor fear the ruin spread below, 

For thou art always nigh. 

Ten thousand snares mv path beset ; 
Yet will I Lord, the work complete, 

Which thou to me hast given ; 
Regardless of the pain I feel, 
Close by the gates of death and hell, 

I urge my way to heaven. 





2 Peter, i., 1, 2. 

1. "Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ, to 
them that have obtained like precious faith with us through the 
righteousness of God, and our Saviour Jesus Christ : 

2. " Grace and peace he multiplied unto you through the know- 
ledge of God and of Jesus our Lord." 

Much light may be thrown on the doctrines and pre- 
cepts contained in the apostolic epistles, by a proper 
consideration of the circumstances of the writers, and the 
state of the people to whom their letters were addressed. 

This is particularly evident in respect to the people to 
whom St. Peter addresses these two epistles. They 
seem to have been a mixed people, composed of genuine 
converts to Christianity, partly Jews, and partly Gentiles ; 
the former, at least, expelled from their native land, by 
the violence of persecution, and obliged to take refuge 
among the heathen ; and thus they were " strangers, 
scattered abroad throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, 
Asia, and Bithynia; provinces to which the persecuting 
rage of their adversaries could not extend. Hence the 
epistles abound with the most consolatory addresses, and 

A DISCOURSE ON II. PET. I. 1, 2. 333 

the most encouraging promises ; including proper de- 
scriptions of the excellence and glory of the cause for 
which they suffered, and the honour and profit which 
would redound to them if they suffered patiently, in a 
true Christian spirit ; at the same time, showing hy holy 
tempers and righteous practices, that they had not re- 
ceived the grace of God in vain : and he appeals to them- 
selves, as the most unexceptionable witnesses, that they 
had suffered no spiritual loss by their persecutions, but 
rather had an increase of grace, and their God an in- 
crease of glory. They had their incorruptible, undefiled, 
and permanent inheritance fully in view, so that they 
could rejoice exceedingly ; and he shows the trial of their 
faith would be found unto praise, and honour, and glory, 
at the appearing of Jesus Christ, whom, though unseen, 
they loved ; and in whom, believing, they rejoiced with 
joy unspeakable and full of glory ; even then, receiving 
the end of their faith, the salvation of their souls. See 
the first chapter of the first epistle : and for a full ac- 
count of the internal and external state of this people, 
see the sermon on 2 Pet. i. 4. — Sermon xxx. 

As persecution, on account of religion, is, in the sight 
of reason and common sense, and in the sight of all men 
that profess Christianity, except those of the holy Roman 
Catholic Church, — the most absurd and wicked ; as it 
sticks at nothing to distress and ruin the objects of its 
hatred, and will go all lengths in oppression and cruelty ; 
it may be necessary to show, in a brief manner, how far, 
and to what regions, it pursued the poor Christians of 
Judea ; who gave, by their conduct in this case, the most 
unequivocal proofs, not only of their conscientious sin- 
cerity, but also of the truth of their religion, and who, 
for its sake (being sustained by its mighty influence), 
submitted to be banished into strange cities, and " took 



joyfully the spoiling of their goods, knowing in them- 
selves" by the powerful indwelling of God's Holy Spirit, 
" that they had in heaven a much better and enduring 
substance," Ileb. x. 34. But why should such men flee 
from persecution ? Was not this a mark of cowardice ? 
No ! It was an act of obedience to the command of their 
Lord, who said, ''When they persecute you in this city, 
flee ye into another," Matt. x. 23 ; and by this means 
was the gospel of God widely and speedily propagated 
through the habitable globe ; for wherever those perse- 
cuted men went, they proclaimed the glad tidings for 
which they suffered. Hence, it is written, " they that 
were scattered abroad, went everywhere preaching the 
word," Acts viii. 4 : and such was the power which ac- 
companied their testimony, that multitudes of heathens 
were converted to the faith ; and such was the blessedness 
that these new converts felt, that they openly professed 
this new faith, though they perceived that it would expose 
them to a similar fate with those whom they knew to be 
exiles, stripped of all worldly property, and deeply suf- 
fering for that cause which they had espoused, and which 
they, with many other Gentiles, had just now embraced. 
From the places mentioned here, it seems that those 
persecuted people could have no safety either in their 
own country or in its vicinity ; and must either have 
crossed the Levantine, or Mediterranean Sea, from Cse- 
sarea in Samaria, and landed at Tarsus or Seleucia ; and 
spread themselves through different provinces in Asia 
Minor, contiguous to the shores of the Euxine or Black 
Sea : or if they took a land journey, they must have tra- 
velled through Phoenicia, Syria, and Armenia, in order 
to have reached Pontus, ike, the places which are men- 
tioned in the text, as already quoted, for they were 
" strangers scattered abroad throughout Pontus, Galatia, 

A DISCOURSE ON il. PET. I. 1, 2. 335 

Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia," 1 Pet. i. 1 : a slight 
geographical notice of which places, may be acceptable 
to the less informed reader. 

Pontus was an ancient kingdom of Asia Minor, ori- 
ginally a part of Cappadocia, bounded on the east by 
Colchis ; on the west, by the river Halys ; on the north, 
by the Euxine, or Black Sea ; and on the south, by Ar- 
menia Minor. Six kings of the name of Mithridates 
have reigned in this kingdom, some of whom were emi- 
nent in history : its last monarch was David Comnenus, 
who, with all his family, were taken prisoners by Mo- 
hammed 1 1., in the year 1462, and carried to Constanti- 
nople, since which time, it has continued under the 
degrading power of the Turks. 

Galatia was the name of a province in Asia Minor, 
now called Amasia. It was bounded on the east by Cap- 
padocia ; on the south by Pamphylia ; on the north by 
the Black Sea ; and on the west by Bithynia. 

Cappadocia, another ancient kingdom of Asia, com- 
prehending all the country lying between Mount Taurus, 
and the Euxine, or Black Sea. 

Asia. That part of Asia Minor, of which Ephesus 
was the capital, on the coast of the ^Egean Sea. 

Bithynia. Another of the ancient kingdoms of Asia, 
formerly called Mysia, Mydonia and Bebrycia. It was 
bounded on the west by the Thracian Bosphorus, and 
part of the Propontis ; on the south, by the river Ryn- 
dacus, and Mount Olympus ; on the north, by the Euxine 
Sea j and on the east, by the river Parthenius. This 
place may be said to be rendered infamous by the con- 
duct of Prusias, one of the kings, who delivered Hanni- 
bal into the hands of the Romans, who had fled to him 
for protection. It is now in the possession of the Turks. 
Those places were principally situated near the coast of 
the Euxine Sea, extending from its eastern to its western 


end : and at that time, they were all under the govern- 
ment of the Romans. 

It is not likely that those persecuted people emigrated 
at one time : the persecution had now raged for many 
years, and they fled from time to time to the aforesaid 
provinces for protection, as the persecution broke out in 
those parts of Judea, where they had resided. 

Having taken this general view of the places of resi- 
dence of these persecuted people, and the cause of their 
dispersion : — 

I. I now come to consider the writer of this epistle in 
his official character. 

II. The character and state of the people to whom it 
is addressed. 

III. How they were brought into that state. 

IV The prayer of the apostle for their increase in all 
spiritual excellence. And, 

V- The way in which this increase was to be ex- 

I. I shall consider the writer of this epistle in his offi- 
cial character. 

1. He calls himself Simon Peter ; or, as the great ma- 
jority of MSS. and ancient Versions have, Svjutov Jlirpos, 
Symeon Peter, not ~2ipov T\trpoQ, Simon Peter ; the same 
in signification, hearing, or he who hears, also obeying : 
these two significations being found in the same word 
both in Hebrew and Greek. But some learned men, 
and particularly Grotius, contend for Symeon, because 
they believe that this Second Epistle of Peter was not 
written by Simon Peter, the apostle, but by Symeon, 
bishop of Jerusalem ; but this opinion is not generally 
received, though the accuracy of Symeon (the reading 
here) is not disputed. This reading, however, is the 
more remarkable, as the surname of Peter occurs up- 

A DISCOURSE OX II. PET. I. 1, 2. 337 

wards of seventy times in the New Testament, and is 
invariably read Sijuor Simon ; except here, and in Acts 
xv. 14, where James gives him the name of Symeon. 
But this matter is of little importance : the original 
name was Shimeon, which was ultimately written by the 
Greeks Symeon and Simon ; and that the apostle Peter 
was the author of this epistle, as well as of the first, see 
the preface to 2 Peter in my notes. 

2. But the name of his official character is of the 
highest importance, " a servant and apostle of Jesus 
Christ." " Symeon Peter a servant of Jesus Christ." 
AovXog, the word which we translate servant, properly sig- 
nifies a slave, who is the entire property of his master, 
and is used here by the apostle with great propriety. 
He felt that he was not his own, and that his life and 
powers belonged to his heavenly owner; and that he 
had no right to dispose of, or employ them but in the 
strictest subserviency to the will of his Lord. In this 
sense, and in this spirit, Peter is the willing slave of 
Jesus Christ ; and this is perhaps the highest character 
that any soul of man can attain on this side eternity. 
" I am wholly the Lord's ; and wholly devoted, in the 
spirit of sacrificial obedience, to the constant, complete, 
and energetic performance of the divine will." A friend 
of God, is high ; a son of God, is higher ; but a servant, 
or in the above sense, a slave of God, is higher than all. 
In a word, he is a person who feels he has no property 
in himself; and that God is all in all. 

Such was Peter, one who had long received Jesus 
Christ as his Master, to teach him the doctrine of the 
kingdom, and to employ him in the work of the minis- 
try. He stood prepared to do the will of God, because 
he had been first well-instructed concerning the Master's 
works. He who would do a work well, must be first 
instructed in what the nature of the work consists, and 


how it is to be executed. God's work can be known 
only by"his teaching, and performed by his help. Man 
may learn from man something about it, but what is 
essential to it, God alone can teach ; and so holy, spi- 
ritual, and difficult is this work, that no man can do it 
without the continual help and unction of the Holy 

The patriarch Simeon was the son of Jacob and Leah ; 
and his mother, on his birth, gave him this name, be- 
cause the Lord had heard that she was hated by her 
husband; that is, he loved Leah less than her sister 
Rachael, which caused her much grief of heart, and in- 
duced her, doubtless, to offer many prayers to her hea- 
venly Father. There was always among the pious Jews 
a reason for the names they gave their children ; and it 
is very likely that Jonah, the father of Simon Peter, 
with his consort, whose name is not recorded, had of- 
fered up their prayers to God for some especial favour, 
which they found answered in the birth of their son ; 
and therefore imposed on him, and for a similar reason, 
the name given to their ancient patriarch : and his ready 
acceptance of the call of our Lord, was a proof that God 
had opened his heart, not only to attend to the things 
spoken by Christ, but readily, and laboriously, to com- 
municate them to others; and as the servant of his 
■Lord to be faithful unto death ; at least, laying down 
his life for his sake. 

This is to be a true servant of Jesus Christ, not only 
to obey for a time, or to show his zeal even in some 
perilous circumstances, but to continue in the faith, and 
not to go out of the path of obedience, even if death stood 
in the way. 

Christ is the only Master of his church ; the highest 
spiritual officer is only a servant under him. He alone 
has authority to assign the work in general ; and show 

A DISCOURSE ON II. PET. I. 1, 2. 339 

to each in particular, what part of the work he is to do. 
Jesus Christ took upon himself, not only the human for m, 
but the form of a servant. He came into the world to 
minister to man ; and by washing the feet of his dis- 
ciples, he showed, that man should perform even the 
meanest offices to his fellows, when necessity required it. 
But ministering to the souls of the people, was not only 
one of the most necessary offices, but when done faith- 
fully, is of all others the most laborious. It requires all 
the energy of the mind, and all the strength of the body ; 
all time must be given to it, and all care expended upon 
it. It is not merely a function, which a man holds in 
profession, or an employment in which he is often ex- 
ercised or a work to which a certain time is allotted ; 
but it is a labour in which body, soul, and spirit must be 
deeply, solemnly, and always engaged. The servant of 
God, who has the care and cure of souls, labours much 
in private before his public labour commences ; labours 
intensely while he is labouring ; and labours fervently 
after his public labour is done : so that strange as it may 
appear, the servant of Jesus Christ, labours before he 
begins to labour ; labours most, while he is labouring ; 
and labours after he has done labouring. Deep medita- 
tion, and prayer, before he begins ; fervent, and zealous 
application, while he is engaged; and earnest interces- 
sion and supplication, when his labour is done, that the 
people may profit by what they have heard, will solve 
all this problem. St. Paul could say of himself, and of 
all the true evangelists of his time, " We preach not our- 
selves, but Christ Jesus the Lord, and ourselves your 
servants for Jesus' sake." And in the conclusion of the 
first chapter of his Epistle to the Colossians, when speak- 
ing of the grand subject of apostolic preaching, "Crist 
in them the hope of glory ;" lie asserts, " AVhom \ ,-e 
preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in 


all wisdom ; that we may present every man perfect in 
Christ Jesus :" whereunto, says he, I also labour, striving 
according to his working which worketh in me mightily 
— tig 6 Kai kottiw aywj/i£o/i£VO£ Kara rr/v tvtpyiav avrov rr\v 
ivtpyovfiiyriv iv ipoi tv Swa/tu. Thus translated by Wicliff: 
—In totitcfje tljtng an& I trabeilc strgbgngt up tfie toorcfeings 
of t)im : tljat l)e toorcfectj) in ine in bettuo Or, if the reader 
will bear a literal version, " In reference to which I also 
labour, agonizing according to his energy, which ener- 
gizes in me, in mighty power." Thus the servants of 
Jesus, Christ were employed ; and thus they laboured to 
fulfil their calling. 

3. But Simon Peter was not only a servant, but also 
an apostle of Jesus Christ. 

The word apostle, airoaroXos, is derived from cnrooTtWw, 
" I send a message ;" in which the four following thiugs 
are implied: 1. The sender, from whom; and 2. The 
people, to whom the message is sent. 3. Next there is 
the messenger ; and, 4. The message. 

1. The message is the doctrine of reconciliation, viz. : 
" That God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto 
himself," Christ having " been delivered to death for our 
sins, and risen again for our justification ;" having " by 
the grace of God tasted death for every man." 2. The 
messenger is the apostle, to whom the doctrine of recon- 
ciliation is intrusted. 3. The objects of his mission are 
the whole human race : " Go ye into all the world, and 
preach the gospel to every creature." 4. And the Sender 
is the infinite, sovereign, everlasting God ; the Fountain 
of light and truth ; who alone is able to teach and save. 
He from whom all authority comes, and who alone can 
qualify those whom he sends, to be able ministers of the 
New Covenant ; in whom he works, and with whom he 
will work. 

The word apostle was anciently used to signify a per- 

A DISCOURSE ON II. PET. I. 1, 2. 341 

son commissioned by his king to negotiate any affair 
between himself and any other power or people; and 
thus he is one sent on a confidential errand. But here 
we see that the word means an extraordinary messenger 
—one sent by God himself, to deliver the most important 
message on behalf of his Maker : in a word, one sent by 
the Divine authority, to preach the gospel to the nations. 
Peter had long conversed with Christ; and it seems 
evident, that it was deemed essential to the character of 
an apostle in that time, that he had seen and conversed 
with Christ : and St. Paid gives, as a proof, that won- 
derful appearance of Christ to him (when on the way to 
Damascus), of his legitimate call to the apostleship. See 
1 Cor. ix. 1, xv. 8- 

It is worthy of notice, that those who were Christ's 
apostles were first his disciples : to intimate to all ages 
and to all churches, that men must be first taught of 
God before they be sent of God. Jesus Christ never 
made an apostle of any man, who was not first his dis- 
ciple or scholar. He sends, therefore, bis disciples to be 
apostles ; and those who are not such, and thus sent, can 
never build up the church, nor bring sinners to Christ. 
God will not send them ; and if they be sent of man, 
and not of God, they shall not profit the people at all. 
The want of this divine mission is the cause of the decay 
of Christian piety all over the earth. In vain do we 
talk about revivals of religion, without an apostolic 
priesthood. Even splendid natural abilities, adorned 
with human learning, can be no substitute for the gifts 
and graces of the Holy Spirit. It is the disciples of 
Christ whom he will make apostles, to gather in, to 
plant, and build up his living church. It was the apos- 
tles that not only proclaimed the truth, but wrote and 
recorded the truth; to them, under God, we owe the 
canonical books of the New Covenant. 


We have in the New Testament 27 inspired books : — 

1. The Four Gospels, written by the persons whose 
names they bear, and who lived in the times of the 
transactions which they relate and record. 

2. The Acts (or travels, preaching, and success) of 
the Apostles ; evidently written by St. Luke, as the style 
and language are precisely the same with that of the 
gospel that goes under his name. 

3. Thirteen Epistles, which bear the name and were 
indisputably written by St. Paul. There is a fourteenth, 
that to the Hebrews, which, though it does not bear his 
name, yet is written so much in the apostle's manner 
and" language, that there is little doubt of its being a 
genuine production of that highly-gifted and inspired 
man; and, on many accounts, it is the most valuable 
and useful of all the books in the New Testament. 

4. There is one Epistle of James, who does not call 
himself an apostle, but only " a servant of God and of 
the Lord Jesus Christ ;" but he has ever been considered 
as an apostle, and as one divinely inspired, and commis- 
sioned to write that epistle. 

5. There are two Epistles of Peter, addressed to the 
followers of Christ who were driven into foreign nations 
by those early persecutions that were raised in Judea, 
against Christianity and its professors. 

6. There are three written by the apostle and evan- 
gelist John, of whose apostleship and very high inspira- 
tion the church of Christ never doubted ; and who was, 
beyond all the other inspired writers, the most intimately 
acquainted with the deep and sublime truths of the 
Christian religion. 

7. The last of all the apostolic Epistles is that written 
by Jude, who simply styles himself " A servant of Jesus 
Christ, and brother of James;" and probably of that 
James whose E}>istle las been already noticed. And 

A DISCOURSE ON II. PET. I. 1, 2. 343 

though neither he nor James assume the title of apostle, 
yet from what we have already seen of the import of the 
title Servant, in the case of Peter, we cannot doubt of 
its being equal, in point of inspiration, to that of Apostle ; 
and as a truly inspired work, it has from the earliest 
ages been received into the Christian church. 

8. The Book of the Apocalypse, or Revelation, is the 
last in order, and certainly the last in time, of the in- 
spired writings ; and this is attributed on all hands to 
John the evangelist and apostle, the writer of the gospel 
which bears his name, and of the three epistles that 
precede that of Jude. 

All these writings, thus briefly enumerated, constitute 
what is termed the canon of the New Covenant ; that 
is, the grand rule that forms and regulates everything 
relative to the faith and practice of those professing 
Christianity. It contains all the doctrines that should 
be believed, and all the precepts that should be obeyed, 
bv all those who desire to please God here, receive his 
salvation, and be prepared for an inheritance among the 
saints in light. These Books, then, are the canonical 
Scriptures ; and the Canonical Scriptures mean those 
which were written by apostles and apostolic men, who 
were divinely inspired for this especial purpose ; and 
therefore their words are to be received as the pure say- 
ings of the Holy Spirit ; to be implicitly received as the 
infallible words of truth. All the promises contained in 
those books will be strictly fulfilled to all them that be- 
lieve ; and their threatenings are equally infallible. The 
word apostle, therefore, teaches us, that all the writings 
which go under such a name are "those Scriptures 
which are given by the inspiration of God, and are pro- 
fitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for in- 
struction in righteousness, that the man of God may be 
perfected, thoroughly furnished unto all good works," 


2 Tim. iii. 16, 17- Hence we may conclude with the 
words in the context (ver. 15) : " These holy Scriptures 
are able to make us wise unto salvation, through faith 
which is in Christ Jesus." 

If, instead of " Servant and Apostle of Jesus Christ," 
Peter had said, " Symeon Peter, Vicar of Jesus Christ, 
Bishop of bishops, vice -God, arid sole head of the 
church; who only possesses the right of making and 
annulling, binding and loosing, infallible judge and un- 
erring guide/' many persons would have exulted in 
those sonorous titles, which then they would have con- 
sidered as divine, and which now their ignorance and 
superstition have induced them to assume in behalf of a 
man, the pretended successor of an apostle ; whom they 
have disgraced by titles which destroy his apostleship, 
and blaspheme his God. But leaving out their blas- 
phemy, how low, and, as applied to a man, how con- 
temptible, are all these, when compared with the simple 
declaration of character and office, "Symeon Peter, a 
servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ!" Nothing of 
those matters is found in his Epistles ; nor anything like 
them spoken of him, or any other apostle, in any part 
of the divine oracles. It is true, we read of one, but 
he is called Antichrist, or " The man of Sin, and son of 
perdition ;" who opposeth and exalteth himself above all 
that is called God, or that is worshipped ; so that he, as 
God, sitteth in the temple of God, showing himself that 
he is God." But "this wicked one, whose coming is 
after the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and 
lying wonders, and with all deceivableness of unright- 
eousness, — him the Lord will consume with the Spirit of 
his mouth ; and shall destroy with the brightness of his 

And yet with all these assumptions of power and 
glory, he (the feigned character) endeavours to outdo 

A DISCOURSE ON II. PET. I. 1, 2. 345 

Peter himself in humility, by styling himself Pius, Cle- 
mens, &c, Servus Servorum Dei, &c. " Pius, or Cle- 
mens, &c, Servant of the Servants of God ;" and will 
even pretend to the humility of Christ, when on holy 
Thursday he girds himself with a towel, and washes the 
right legs of twelve poor priests, which have been pre- 
viously carefully washed with soap and water ; and after 
this pageant, wiping them with the towel by which he 
is girded. See this ceremony represented and described 
in Picard's Religious Ceremonies, vol. ii., p. 21, and the 
plate there. 

While there was no copy of the Sacred Writings but 
in the hands of the priests, this silly imposture might go 
undetected ; but now the weakness, vanity, and wicked- 
ness of this conduct is exposed to the view of the world ; 
and the servant of servants is laughed to scorn, while 
his toes and knees are presented to be kissed, by the 
abbots and cardinals, by the greatest nobles of the land ; 
and by kings and emperors, if they happen to be present 
at his coronation, or on other grand state occasions. 
How can such knavery and imposture show themselves 
in the face of Symeon Peter, a servant and an apostle of 
Jesus Christ? But spiritual pride and imposture are 
the weakest and grossest of all others. They must, 
however, have a fall; and whenever that shall take 
place, the crash will be loud and sudden, and the descent 
with " smouldering dreariment." Thus, 

" Priests of Baal — one and all — soon shall they fall, 
with Rome their mother." May repentance and refor- 
mation prevent their final calamity ! 

As a holy apostle, and one commissioned of God to 
write, these two epistles are the only fruits of the pen of 
St. Peter, and of his inspiration ; and is it not worthy 
of remark, that in no place of these two epistles, nor in 
any other parts of the Sacred Writings, Avhere Peter's 


sayings or speeches are recorded, do we find any of the 
peculiar tenets of the Romish church ! Not one word 
of his or the pope's supremacy — not one word of those 
who affect to be his successors : — nothing of the infalli- 
bility claimed by those pretended successors : — nothing 
of purgatory, penances, pilgrimages, auricular confession, 
power of the keys, indulgences, masses, extreme unction, 
relics, worship of the holy virgin, intercession of the 
saints, processions in honour of them, and prayers for 
the dead ; and not one word on the most essential doc- 
trine of the Romish church, T-r-a-n-s-u-b-s-t-a-n-t-i-a- 
t-i-o-n ! Now as all these things have been considered 
by themselves most essential to the being of that church, 
is it not strange that He from whom they profess to 
derive all their power, authority, and influence in spiri- 
tual and secular matters, should have said nothing of 
these most necessary things ? Is it not a proof that they 
have mistaken their patron ; or, rather, that those doc- 
trines, &c, are all false and forged ? — that the holy 
apostle knew nothing of them, and that they are no part 
of the doctrine of God ; and though they distinguish the 
Church of Rome, da not belong to the church of Christ ? 
It is no wonder that the rulers of this church endeavour 
to keep the Scriptures from the common people ; for 
were they permitted to consult them, the imposition 
would soon be detected, and the solemn, destructive 
cheat at once exposed. 

With these considerations, once reading these two 
epistles would be sufficient to convince any rational 
Roman Catholic of the heretical nature of the church to 
which he had been attached, and cause him to embrace 
the illustrating light of the Reformation. But they will 
not read; therefore they cannot believe: they do not 
believe ; therefore they are not established. 

II. I come now to consider the character and spiri- 

A DISCOURSE ON II. PET. I. 1, 2. 347 

tual state of the people to whom this Epistle is ad- 

They were genuine believers in Christ: "To them 
that have obtained like precious faith with us." Their 
faith was the same with that of the apostles and be- 
lieving Jews ; having the same origin, the same object, 
and the same end. Faith is often taken for that assent 
given by the mind or understanding, relative to a parti- 
cular object brought before it, or proposed to it, as true, 
important, and useful. It is generally used synonymously 
with belief, which often expresses the credit given to 
something which we know not of ourselves, on account 
of the authority by which it is delivered. It is taken 
not only in the New Testament for the doctrines of the 
gospel, but for the whole gospel itself; or that scheme 
of salvation laid down and explained in that sacred book. 
And with us it is commonly understood as that system 
of revealed truths, collected from the Scriptures, and 
held by the Christian church. In this sense, and none 
other, is it to be understood, Acts xxiv. 24 : " Felix, and 
his wife Drusilla, heard Paul concerning the faith;" that 
is, the system of doctrine relative to Jesus the Christ, in 
his incarnation, preaching, miracles, sufferings, death, 
resurrection, and ascension ; and the salvation from sin, 
published in his name, and actually given to all them 
who believed on him, as having purchased this, and all 
other spiritual blessings, by his incarnation and sacrificial 
death. Hence Christ was the chief Object of faith, as 
having procured or purchased these blessings, and as 
dispensing them to believers. And while faith generally 
kept Christ in view, as the only Saviour;, it was exercised 
on the promises of pardon or justification ; purification 
or sanctification ; and beatification, or the attainment of 
eternal glory. It is in this general sense we are to un- 
derstand it here ; the faith that justifies, sanctifies, and 


brings to final glory. Because it properly apprehends 
Him, by and through whom this justification, sanctifica- 
tion, and glorification are provided and communicated. 

It is here called ktoti/iov ttujtiv, an equally valuable 
faith with that enjoyed by the apostles and all the Chris- 
tian churches. It does not imply that there were two 
kinds of faith, one as valuable, or nearly so, as the other, 
but one and the same faith ; the common faith producing 
the same effects in them that it did in the apostles them- 
selves. It was a faith, a system of salvation that cost a 
great price ; for, says this apostle, " ye were not re- 
deemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from 
your vain conversation, received by tradition from your 
fathers ; but with the precious blood (n/«a al/ian, the 
valuable, or costly blood of Christ), as a lamb without 
blemish, and without spot," 1 Pet. i. 18, 19. This was a 
price, all price beyond — far surpassing any calculation 
which either men or angels could make. And as it cost 
an immense price, so it was of an infinite value ; for 
that price purchased pardon of all the sins of all man- 
kind, purification of the souls of all believers, and the 
final glorification of all them who continue faithful unto 

The word precious, pretiosus, valuable, from pretium, 
the price given for any article, is often taken to express 
a high value ; so, in mercantile language, a commodity 
is said to be a thing of price, that is, very valuable, high, 
dear, rising in its value. But there is a low religious 
phraseology, in which it is used in a mean, soft, childish 
sense ; for dear, comfortable, delightful, darling, sweet, 
&c. ; precious Christ, precious love, precious grace, a 
precious soul, &c. But how much is the dignity of the 
subject let down by expressions and meanings, more 
proper for the nursery, than for the noble science of sal- 
vation. The word was not used in this low, exception- 

A DISCOURSE ON II. PET. I. 1, 2. 349 

able sense, when our translation was made. It then sig- 
nified, as it ever must do, when used and applied pro- 
perly, valuable, of great price, very costly ; and we may 
well say, that faith must be of infinite value, the grace 
of which, and the objects of that grace, Christ has pur- 
chased by his blood ; and it must be of infinite value, 
when it is the very instrument by which the soul is saved 
unto eternal life. I conclude, therefore, that this faith 
was equally valuable with that of the apostles themselves. 
1. It had the same origin; God's infinite grace and 
mercy, " God so loved the world that he gave his only- 
begotten Son, to the end that they who believe in him 
should not perish." 2. It had the same object ; Christ 
crucified, and tasting death for every man. 3. It had 
the same end — that inheritance that is incorruptible, un- 
defiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for 
them that are kept by the power of God, through faith 
unto final and eternal salvation. 

III. It is an object of important inquiry, How this 
very valuable faith was obtained ? The apostle says, 
" They had obtained like precious faith with us (through 
the righteousness of God, and our Saviour Jesus Christ, 
iv SiKaiouvvr\ tov Qiov ij/iwv nat (Tiorjjpog Ijj<toi; Xpurrov) " by 
the righteousness of our God and Saviour Jesus Christ." 
This contains a positive proof that St. Peter calls Jesus 
Christ our God, even in the most proper sense of the 
word, with the article prefixed, tov Qiov. It is no evi- 
dence against this doctrine, that one MS. of little value, 
with the Syriac, and two Arabic versions, have Kvptov, 
Lord; as all other MSS., Versions, and Fathers agree 
in the former reading. But how did they obtain this 
faith ? Through the righteousness of God : that is, 
through God's method of saving sinners, by faith in Christ 
Jesus ; which is not of works, nor by any rites or cere- 
monies ; nor by any outward privileges ; nor restrained 


to any particular age, place, or people, as the Jewish dis- 
pensation was ; but is a manifestation of mercy to both 
Jews and Gentiles, in and by Christ Jesus. And this 
manifestation of God's mercy by Christ, springs from the 
righteousness and perfection of his nature, which requires 
the grand sacrifice of Christ to make an atonement for 
sin, that justice may be satisfied ; and thus a free way be 
made for the current of his boundless love to flow in ; — 
benevolence and mercy to all mankind ; for Jesus, by the 
grace or mercy of God, hath tasted death for every man. 
Thus, then, the people to whom St. Peter wrote, ob- 
tained that same valuable faith, with the apostles them- 
selves, being justified freely, while believing for the re- 
demption that is in Jesus. See this sense of the word 
largely explained and illustrated in my notes on Rom. iii. 
21 — 26. God's righteousness is used not only for his 
justice and holiness, but repeatedly for his benevolence 
and mercy ; and here, and in many other places in the 
New Testament, it is taken for the grand plan of human 
salvation, by the incarnation of Christ, and his subse- 
quent passion and death, through faith, in which every 
penitent soul is justified freely, and sanctified wholly. 
In this astonishing scheme, justice and mercy equally 
appear ; and therefore, he still can be just (righteous), 
and yet the justifier of him that believeth in Jesus. Thus 
what has been predicted by the prophet, Ps. lxxxv. 10, 
is accomplished : " Mercy and truth have met together, 
righteousness and peace have kissed each other." Lite- 
rally, Mercy and truth have met in the way, righteous- 
ness and peace have embraced. Though much has been 
said on this text, yet there is a beauty in it which has 
not been noticed. 

Mercy and peace are on one side ; truth and righteous- 
ness on the other ; truth requires righteousness; mercy 
calls for peace (pacification). They meet together on 

A DISCOURSE ON II. PET. I. 1. 2. 351 

the way ; one going to make inquisition for sin, the other 
to plead for reconciliation. Having thus met, their dif- 
ferences, on certain considerations (not specified by the 
Psalmist) are adjusted ; their mutual claims are blended 
together in one common interest, on which peace and 
righteousness immediately embrace. Thus righteousness 
is given to truth, and peace is given to mercy. Now 
where did they meet ? In Christ Jesus. When were 
they reconciled ? When he poured out his life's blood 
on Calvary. See my notes on the above psalm. 

I need say nothing concerning an apparent distinction 
observable in our present translation, of the last clause 
of the verse under review, the righteousness of God and 
our Saviour Jesus Christ, as if the plan of reconciliation 
was not only that of God the Father, but also of Christ 
the Saviour — a plan which God invented and deter- 
mined, and which Jesus Christ most willingly executed, 
because I consider the same person as indicated in the 
original text, and therefore no such distinction exists ; for 
the text should be translated, " Through the righteous- 
ness of our God and Saviour Jesus Christ ;" and this is 
the translation pointed out in the margin, and should be 
entirely preferred to that in the text. The one is natural 
and correct ; the other is the reverse. 

IV The prayer of the apostle for their increase in all 
spiritual excellence. " Grace and peace be multiplied 
unto you !" 

The grace of God, and the peace of God, are those 
blessings that constitute — 1. The being of the church 
of Christ. 2. The spiritual existence of a Christian, or 
genuine believer in the Lord Jesus. Without the grace 
and peace of God, there can be no church ; without 
these there can be no Christian. Every church must 
bave these to constitute its spiritual existence ; every 


profesging Christian must have these for his personal 

1. Grace, x a P l £> nas man y acceptations in the New- 
Testament ; the principal of which I shall set down, dis- 
tinguishing that in which it is used in this place. 

(1) In general x a P'£> translated grace, signifies favour 
or benevolence; but especially that favour which is 
powerful and active, and loads its object with benefits, 
Luke i. 30 : " Fear not, Mary, thou hast found favour, 
Xapiv, with God." Luke ii. 40 : " The child grew — and 
the grace (\apig, favour) of God was upon him." 
lb. ver. 52 : " And Jesus increased in wisdom and sta- 
ture, and in favour (x a P lTl > grace) with God and man," 
Acts ii. 47, — the primitive Christians continued daily 
with one accord in the temple : " they ate their bread 
with gladness and singleness of heart, praising God, and 
having favour (x a 9 lv i grace) with all the people." Acts 
iv. 23 : " And with great power gave the apostles wit- 
ness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great 
grace (xapic, favour) was upon them all." The apostles 
were at this time in universal favour with the multitude. 
For the scandal of the cross had not yet been discerned. 
In the above sense, the word occurs in a great variety 
of places, both in the Old and New Testaments. 

(2) Hence it is often used for the blessing which it 
dispenses; for if God be favourably disposed towards 
a person, his beneficent acts, in that person's behalf, will 
be a necessary consequence of such favour. John i. 14 : 
" And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, 
full — tXj/P»)£ x a P lr °£ Kal a\7j9eiae, of grace (favour) and 
truth." He was accomplished in all spiritual blessings 
and endowments. 

John i. 16 : " And of his fulness have we all received, 
and grace for grace," x^iv avn %apiroQ, grace upon grace, 
favour after favour. He who is full of the most excel- 

A DISCOURSE ON II. PET. I. 1, 2. 353 

lent blessings confers them liberally upon all believers. 
Acts xi. 23 : " And they sent forth Barnabas, that he 
should go as far as Antioch ; who, when he was come, 
and had seen the grace of God, he was glad, i<W rrjv 
%apiv tov &iov (\apri' — he had the fullest evidence that 
they were all alive to God, and richly endowed with hea- 
venly gifts. 

1 Cor. i. 4. St. Paul thanks God always in behalf of 
the Corinthians, for the grace of God — i-ki m x a 9 lTlT0 
Qtov, for the favour of God. the divine blessings which 
were conferred upon them. 

2 Cor. ix. 8 : " And God is able to make all grace — 
iraaav x a P av > all spiritual benefits, — to abound towards 
you." He can enrich .you with every benediction. This 
is a very common acceptation of the word ; and in this 
sense, the term grace or favour is now generally under- 
stood among religious people ; the grace of God mean- 
ing, with them, some csivine or spiritual blessing com- 

(3) It is sometimes taken for the whole of the Chris- 
tian religion, as being the greatest possible display of 
God's favour to a lost and ruined world; and in this 
sense it appears to be used, John i. 17 : "The law was 
given by Moses, but }) %apig k<u >/ aX^Ona, the grace 
(favour) and the truth came by Jesus Christ." Here the 
term grace is evidently opposed to the law ; the latter 
meaning the Mosaic, the other meaning the Christian 

Acts x,iii. 13. Barnabas persuaded them to continue 
in the grace of God, i. e., to hold fast their profession of 
the religion of Christ: so Rom. vi. 14: "Ye are not 
under the law, but under grace." Ye are no longer 
under obligation to fulfil the Mosaic precepts, but are 
under the Christian dispensation. — See also ver. 15 of 


the same chapter; and 2 Cor. i. 10, vi. 1; Gal. i. 6; 
Col.'i. 6; 2 Tim. ii. 1 ; Tit. ii. 11 : "The grace of God 
that bringeth salvation to all men, hath appeared." The 
Jewish religion was restricted in its benefits to a few ; 
but the Christian religion proposes the salvation of all 
men ; and the Author of it has become a sacrifice for the 
sins of the whole world. Heb. xii. 15 : "Looking dili- 
gently lest any man fall from the grace of God," — lest 
any man apostatize from the Christian religion, and the 
blessings of pardon and holiness which he has received 
through it. 1 Pet. v. 12 : " This is the true grace of God 
wherein ye stand," — the Christian religion which ye have 
received is the genuine religion of God. 

(4) It signifies all the blessings and benefits which 
Christ has purchased ; and which he gives to true be- 
lievers both in time and in eternity. See Rom. v. 15, 
17, where the grace of God is opposed to death, i. e., to 
all the wretchedness and misery brought into the world 
by Adam's transgression. 1 Cor. xvi. 23 : " The grace 
of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you all," — may every 
blessing purchased by Christ's passion and death, be the 
portion of you all ! 

From these specimens (and they might be greatly in- 
creased) we see that the grace which the apostle prays 
for signifies the divine favour and approbation ; all the 
blessings which the goodness of God dispenses to man, 
and all those which Christ has bought with his blood, 
and communicates by his Spirit ; and all these benefits 
and advantages that the Christian religion, — in all its 
means of grace, by all its hopes of glory, by the indwel- 
ling Spirit, by the love of God shed abroad in the heart, 
and by that communion which every faithful Chiistian 
holds with the Father and the Son, through the Holy 
Ghost. If these things be so, we at once may be con- 

A DISCOURSE ON II. PET. I. 1, 2. 355 

vinced, that -without this grace, there can be no church 
of Christ upon earth, and no genuine believer in the 

But high, great, and glorious as this privilege is, there 
must be more to constitute the true church, and to make 
a genuine believer, in order to their preservation and per- 
severance in the state of grace ; and hence, the apostle 
prays, that not only grace, but also — 

2. Peace may be multiplied to them. The word 
«pi?j'i/, which we translate peace, has also many accep- 
tations. It is derived, by some learned men, from upw, 
to bind, and iv, one, because peace connects those nations, 
parties, neighbourhoods, and families that were in a state 
of enmity or hostility to each other ; such enmity as 
separated them, and filled them with those passions which 
caused them to shun each other's company, and which 
prevented them from having either communion or con- 
nexion with one another. St. Paul is supposed to refer 
to this meaning of the word, when he exhorts the Ephe- 
sians, chap. iv. 4, to endeavour to keep the unity of the 
Spirit iv Tia avvStaixui rtjQ «p»/i'»)£, in the bond of peace. 
Peace signifies gathering and binding into one mass or 
body, as the stalks of wheat into one sheaf. Let that 
peace, which itself signifies to bind, be so essentially in 
you, that it shall unite you in its own bond. 

Peace signifies the opposite to war and hostility : it 
implies quiet, rest, confidence, and consciousness of safety, 
content, freedom from terror, and prosperity; for in a 
state of peace between nations, trade and commerce 
flourish, and the necessities, conveniences, and comforts 
of life are procured; and each feels it his interest to 
promote the welfare of the others. 

In a state of warfare there is a general sense and 
apprehension of danger. There is no confidence ; trade 
languishes, commerce becomes almost extinct. From 



the spirit of enmity, each strives to injure the other, to 
destroy their means of subsistence ; they burn their crops 
and trees, carry off their cattle, take and destroy their 
ships, and carry fire and sword into each other's terri- 
tories. Their object is to destroy each other's lives ; and 
in so doing they multiply widows and orphans, and bring 
on the famine to destroy what has escaped the edge of 
the sword, and the violence of the fire. War produces 
want, misery, disease, and death ; and all kinds of cala- 
mities follow in its train. It is the sorest plague that 
has sprung from the fall of man ; and one of the greatest 
curses, next to everlasting perdition, that God's justice 
permits to be inflicted, or the enemy of mankind can 
promote or prolong. In a word, take war and its curses, 
imagine their opposites, and you have peace and its bless- 

Among the ancient Jews, peace implied all kinds of 
blessings. Hence the saying of the rabbins, " Great is 
peace, for all other blessings are comprehended in it." 
It signifies, like grace, the gospel and its blessings, Eph. 
ii. 17: "Christ came and preached peace to you that 
were afar off, and to them that were nigh ;" he preached 
the gospel and its salvation both to Jews and Gentiles. 
It signifies true happiness, Luke i. 79 : " To guide our 
feet into the way of peace " to show us the way to attain 
true happiness. 1 Thess. v. 23 : "The very God of peace 
sanctify you ;" God, who is the only source of happiness, 
make you holy. " These things have I spoken unto you, 
that in me ye might have peace" John xvi. 33. I have 
spoken that you might have confidence in me, and derive 
true happiness from me, as your only Saviour. So great 
are the blessings included in this term, that God assumes 
it as expressive of his own perfections, Eph. ii. 14, " He 
is our peace, who has made both one." He is the author 
of all the blessings we enjoy; and by him both Jews 

A DISCOURSE ON II. PET. I. 1, 2. 357 

and Gentiles are reconciled and united into one body. 
Hence, the highest blessing that one man could wish for 
another, were all summed up in " Peace be with you ! ( ' 
" The peace of God, that passeth all understanding, shall 
keep your hearts," Phil. iv. 7- That peace, with which 
God inspires the heart, and which is greater than it is 
possible for man to conceive, shall keep and defend your 
hearts and minds, through Christ Jesus. 

"Without this blessing there can be neither order nor 
harmony in the heart, nor order, harmony, nor commu- 
nion in the church ; consequently, grace and peace are 
essential to the constitution of the church of Christ, and 
essential to the salvation of the souls that constitute 
that church. Without grace and peace there is no 
church ; without them, no soul can be in a state of salva- 
tion. In order to accomplish these two points, I take 
peace here in its simple meaning of union, order, and 

Peace is the first blessing that the soul is conscious of, 
when it receives the pardoning mercy of God ; for thus 
saith the apostle, Rom. v. 1 : " Therefore, being justified 
by faith, we have peace with God, through our Lord 
Jesus Christ." Before this, while sinners, we were in a 
state of enmity against God, which was sufficiently proved 
by our rebellion against his authority, and transgression 
of his laws ; but now, being reconciled, we have peace 
with him : before, while under a sense of the guilt of 
sin, we had nothing but terror and dismay in our con- 
sciences ; now, having our sin forgiven, we have peace 
in our hearts, feeling that all our guilt is taken away. 
The storm and tempest are allayed, the internal war is 
appeased, peace is proclaimed between God and the soul, 
conscience no longer registers against us the guilt of sin 
through a broken law; for now, the guilt being taken 
away, there can remain no longer any condemnation, and 



the heart is at peace ; for God does not continue the in- 
ward accusation when he has pardoned the guilt. Even 
while the amazed penitent feels no longer any condem- 
nation, and he knows not how to name the state he is 
in, nor can account for the change, yet he feels internal 
quiet. Peace is diffused within, harmony and order are 
restored, and he looks in vain for that condemnation 
which he lately felt and heheld with horror, and the 
most frightful apprehension of falling into the hands of 
the living God, and thence into the hitter pangs of an 
eternal death. The peace of which the pardoned peni- 
tent is first conscious, seems to be an absence of the 
sense of guilt, rather than any principle of grace com- 
municated ; but soon the peace of God that passeth all 
understanding enters and keeps his heart ; and God's 
Spirit witnesses with his spirit, that his sins are forgiven 
him, and that he is passed from death to life ; of which 
the love of God, being immediately shed abroad in his 
heart, is as the broad seal of God stamped on the work 
he has wrought ; and thus he has got the first-fruits of 
the Spirit — love, joy, and peace, and rejoices in hope of 
the glory of God. The man becomes unutterably happy. 
Instead of guilt, he has pardon ; instead of an inward 
hell, he has heaven. He feels that God is reconciled 
unto him through the Son of his love. The fear of death 
and the fear of hell is taken away ; and he anticipates 
the glory that shall shortly be revealed. By the eye of 
faith he sees heaven, girds up the loins of his mind, 
starts from the right point, takes the true road, looks 
right to the prize, and runs for eternal life. As in grace 
and peace, all other blessings are included, consequently 
love ; and by it, they who believe have the most solid 
and convincing testimony of God's love to them by that 
measure of it which he communicates to their hearts. 
The apostle says it is shed abroad in our hearts, tKKtxvrai, 

A DISCOURSE ON II. PET. I. 1, 2. 353 

it is poured out and diffused abroad ; filling, quickening, 
and invigorating all our powers and faculties. This love 
thus communicated, becomes the spring of all our 
actions ; it is the motive of our obedience ; the principle 
through which we love God ; we love him because he 
first loved us ; and we love him by a love worthy of him- 
self, because it springs from him ; it is his own, and 
every flame that rises from this pure and vigorous fire 
must be pleasing in his sight. It consumes what is 
unholy, refines every passion and appetite, sublimes the 
whole, and assimilates all to itself. He who receives 
this gift knows that it is the love of God ; it differs 
widely from all that is earthly and sensual. The Holy 
Spirit comes with it ; by his energy it is diffused, and 
pervades every part ; and by its light we discover what 
it is, and know the state of grace in which we stand. 
Thus, they who are genuine believers are furnished to 
every good word and work, have produced in them the 
mind that was in Christ, are enabled to obey the pure 
law of their God in its true spiritual sense, by loving 
him with all the heart, soul, mind, and strength, and 
their neighbour, any and every soul of man, as them- 
selves. This is, or ought to be, the common experience of 
every true Christian ; and k is of such Christians that the 
real church of Christ is composed. The stones are holy, 
and instinct with life, that enter into the composition 
of that spiritual house, that living temple, which is a 
habitation of God by the Holy Ghost. The church is a 
spiritual building, or it does not exist ; believers have 
the grace and peace of God dwelling in them, or there 
are no Christians on the face of the earth. 

Such was the church scattered abroad through Pontus, 
Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, to whom tlie 
apostle wrote these epistles ; and such were the living 
Stones of which it was composed. 


But* it was not enough to have these graces in their 
first principles, they must increase in them ; and hence, 

IV The prayer of the apostle for their increase in all 
spiritual excellence : " Grace and peace he multiplied 
unto you, through the knowledge of God and of Jesus 
our Lord." Most children understand what multiplica- 
tion is ; all learners have this definition ready at hand : 
Multiplication is the act of increasing any numher by 
addition, or production of more of the same kind. Mul- 
tiplication has the multiplicand, or number to be multi- 
plied ; the multiplier, or numher given by which the 
multiplicand is to be multiplied; and the product, or 
number produced by the other two. Will those who 
mind high things, condescend to men of low estate; 
or will they excuse me for doing it ? Then I will pro- 
duce the first question I ever wrought in this rule ; and 
out of the very same book, Fisher's Arithmetic : 

How much is 3 times 472 multiplicand. 
3 multiplier. 

Answer 1416 product. 

Now suppose grace and peace to be multiplicands, or 
numbers to be multiplied ; then choose any number, say 
2, or on to 12, which may be called simple multipliers, 
because they may be easily done in one line ; suppose 
then we take 144, which is 12 multiplied by itself, and 
make it the multiplicand, and 12 (the last and highest 
number in the Pythagorean or multiplication table) as 
the multiplier, and let this sum, 144, stand for grace and 
peace, and 12 the quantity by which you wish to have 
this grace and peace increased ; thus, — 

A DISCOURSE ON II. PET. I. 1, 2. 361 



Then this product, 1728, marks the quantum of those 
graces which you wish to possess, beyond that which 
you at present enjoy. So far, surely, you can believe the 
possibility of having those graces increased in your soul ; 
and when perhaps you consider the small quantum of 
grace and peace which you possess, and how much more 
you must obtain before you are fit to see God, you will 
at once perceive that, great as this increase is, it is yet 
far less than you need. 

Then consider again that this product may be made a 
multiplicand, and capable of being multiplied by the 
same multiplier, thus, 

1728 multiplicand. 
12 multiplier. 

20736 product. 

Twenty thousand seven hundred and thirty-six. This 
is a vast increase ; and yet you can easily conceive the 
possibility of this increase being multiplied, and then the 
product would be the immense sum of two hundred and 
forty-eight thousand eight hundred and thirty-two ! and 
this sum, multiplied in the same way, will produce the 
grand amount of two millions nine hundred and eighty- 
five thousand nine hundred and eighty-four ! and all 
this in only five multiplications ! This is a vast increase, 
and yet this, and far beyond this, can God make his 
grace abound towards you. And as there are no bounds 
to God's mercy in reference to man, and none to the 
wishes and capacity of the human soul, you can easily 


conceive the possibility of this product being again mul- 
tiplied, as the preceding seems, till the increase would 
soon be too great for our powers of calculation to com- 
prehend ; " grace and peace," says the Spirit of God, " be 
multiplied unto you." Who can teil how much is com- 
prehended in this word ! This is no trifling, nor is it 
merely condescending to men of low estate ; it is, on the 
contrary, teaching wisdom among them that are perfect, 
for the apostle prays that the family of God " may be 
filled with all his fulness." 

V That my calculations have been neither irrelative 
nor absurd, we shall see when we come to consider the 
manner in which this multiplication is to be made, or 
the way in which this increase is to be expected, viz., 
" Grace and peace be multiplied unto you, through the 
knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord ;" tv tiriyvuxm 
tov Qtov, km Iijoov tov Kvpiov jj/iwv" in the further or 
additional knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord. 
The word nriyvuiais, compounded of t7ri, upon, and yvtaaiq, 
knowledge or science, signifies here knowledge upon know- 
ledge, increase of science, answering to the cognitio of 
the Latins ; i. e., accurate knowledge or acquaintance 
with a thing by investigation or search ; well interpreted 
by Schleusner, Major, perfectior, et exactior cognitio et 
scientia, nam £ 7ri in compositis haud raro auget signifi- 
cationem; "A greater, more perfect, and more exact 
understanding or knowledge; for the preposition em, in 
compound words, very frequently increases their signifi- 
cation." And he quotes Rom. xx. : "For by the law is 
nriyvuxrig, the thorough knowledge of sin;" its various sacri- 
fices, atonements, sprinklings, washings, &c, sufficiently 
show that all are sinners and sinful ; and Col. i. 9, "that 
ye might be filled, tt\v tmyvuaiv, with that accurate know- 
ledge of his will, which is in all wisdom and spiritual 


understanding ;" a similar import of meaning might be 
traced out in almost every place where this word is used. 
Now such a knowledge of God and Christ is that ac- 
cording to which the grace and peace prayed for by the 
apostle are to be multiplied. But how shall we get this 
knowledge ; or in what may we generally say it is that 
it consists ? 

What is God? An infinite, eternal, almighty, and 
benevolent Spirit. One who has all wisdom to plan — all 
power to execute — and all benevolence to direct every- 
thing to the best end. 

Then look accurately into his wisdom, and see how it 
can enlighten you, teach and plan everything for you. 
Your own ignorance need be no hinderance here ; for as 
he is the author of light, so he is of understanding and 
mind. When he teaches, there is no delay in learning, 
and all his children are taught of the Lord. 

Look accurately also into his omnipotence ; nothing can 
resist his power. He can do everything that is neces- 
sary in you and for you. He calls you to do and to 
suffer, as well as to know ; and he can strengthen you 
for the work. He endues you with patience and might 
to support you in the suffering — enables you to resist and 
overcome evil, and ever to do that which is good in his 

Look into his benevolence. This springs from his 
innate eternal goodness. He will do for you what is 
necessary to be done, because he is good, and because he 
loves you. He will make you a partaker of the divine 
nature. He will fill you with his fulness. Now mul- 
tiply his grace and peace by these three attributes, and 
what then will be the product ? not merely millions, or 
millions of millions of degrees of grace and peace, but 
a whole eternity of these blessings. But these are to 
be multiplied to us through the accurate knowledge also 

a 3 


of Jesus Christ our Lord. And who is Jesus our Lord ? 
He who is called the Almighty's fellow : he in whom 
dwelt all the fulness of the Godhead bodily ; who, as he 
made all things, so he upholds and sustains all things. 
Look accurately into his incarnation, his passion, and 
his death. Look at his glorious resurrection and ascen- 
sion, and at the mission of the Holy Spirit. Know, 
that it is by him that we draw nigh unto God, and that 
the kingdom of heaven is open to all believers. As 
Jesus the Saviour, we have redemption in his blood, for 
by his blood we are justified ; through the infinite merit 
of that blood which he poured out unto death, all our 
sins are freely forgiven. That same blood cleanses from 
all unrighteousness ; through Jesus we are justified, sanc- 
tified, and saved. And he is our Lord; the governor of 
the world and of the church, and of every individual. 
What he governs, he maintains and defends. See 
him also as your Mediator at the throne of God ; he 
ever lives to make intercession for us. Now multiply 
grace and peace by the knowledge you have of the 
ineffable perfection of his nature, and the infinite merit 
of his passion and death ; and see what an indescribable 
product there will be of those blessings which will 
require eternity to exhibit, and endless duration to 
explain ! 

The more accurately we inquire into the divine nature 
and into its more ostensible attributes — into Jesus, and 
his atoning and redeeming acts, the more we shall see of 
the possibility of being saved to the uttermost, to all 
intents and purposes, to all the ends of justice, mercy, 
endless benevolence, and providence ; and that we are 
not straitened in him. If at all limited in our desires 
and expectations, it is in consequence of our inaccurate 
knowledge of God and our Lord Jesus Christ, or through 
the influence of some bad creed, that renders God's ear 

A DISCOURSE ON II. fE'f. 1. 1, 2. 365 

heavy that it cannot hear, and shortens his arm that it 
cannot save ! Study God's word that you may know 
more of him and the Son of his love. The more you 
know of him, the more confidence you will have in him ; 
the more of this general confidence, the more of that 
particular faith, necessary for your salvation ; and the 
more faith and accurate knowledge you have, the more 
you will receive out of his fulness, and have grace upon 
grace. Then will you feel as you never before have 
done, the force of the apostle's prayer, "Grace and peace 
he multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God 
and of Jesus Christ our Lord 1" 

Considering the astonishing subject now before us, 
well may we join with the church, and exultingly say, 

" Glory be to God on high ! and in earth, peace, good- 
will towards men ! — We praise thee ! we bless thee ! 
We worship thee ! We glorify thee ! We give thanks 
to thee, for thy great glory, O Lord God ! heavenly 
King ! God the Father Almighty !" 

And we should humble ourselves because we have 
lived so long below our privileges, and thus with penitent 
feelings, humble ourselves, and go on with the anthem : 

" Lord the only-begotten Son, Jesus Christ ! O 
Lord God, Lamb of God, Son of the Father, that takest 
away the sins of the world, 
Have mercy upon us ! 

Thou that takest away the sin of the world, 
Have mercy upon us ! 

Thou that takest away the sins of the world, 
Receive our prayers ! 

Thou that sittest at the right hand of God the Father, 
Have mercy upon us ! 

For thou only art holy : thou only art the Lord : thou 
only, O Christ, with the Holy Ghost, art most high in 
the glory of God the Father. Amen.'' 


And when we have thus expressed our adoration to 
the holy blessed God, let us with devout hearts, fer- 
vently join in and meekly receive the benediction of the 
minister of God : 

" The peace of God which passeth all understanding, 
keep your hearts and minds in 'the knowledge and love 
of God, and of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord ! 

" And the blessing of God Almighty, the Father, the 
Son, and the Holy Ghost, be amongst you and remain 
with you always. Amen." 




Romans i. 20. 

Ta yap aopara avrov a-rro ktioiuiq koojiov, rotg Trooj/ioci 
voovfiiva naOoparai, »/re a'idiog avrov SwafiiQ kcu 9£ior»;<;. 

" For the invisible things of him from the creation of the 
world, are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are 
made, even his eternal power and Godhead." 

This text is variously translated, both in the ancient 
and modern Versions. I shall lay the most popular be- 
fore the reader. 

The Vulgate thus : Invisibilia enim ipsius, a creatura 
mundi, per ea quae facta sunt, intellecta, conspiciuntur : 
sempiternaquoque ejus virtus et divinitas. Which Calmet 
translates thus : " For the invisible perfections of God, 
his eternal power and divinity, are become visible since 
the creation of the world, by that knowledge which his 
creatures give us of them." 

The Syriac. " For the hidden things of God, from 
the foundation of the world, are, from his creatures, 
thoroughly understood, as well his power, as his eternal 

368 st. Paul's metaphysics ; 

The Arabic. " Although his attributes, by whom the 
world'was builded, which are not seen, are detected in 
the creatures, and are clearly discerned ; to wit, his eter- 
nal power, and his divinity." 

The Ethiopic. " And God, although invisible from 
the creation of the world, nevertheless has been mani- 
fested, and we know him by his works ; and he has de- 
monstrated himself, even his divinity." 

My old MS. Bible. JForsotfje inbssitble tfjingis of fjim 
of tfje creature of tfie toorloe; bi tfjoo tfjingis tfjat ten maao: 
unoeratanoen ten bifjoRren ano tfje eberlastinge btrtu of fjim 
anlr tfje ©oofjelr." 

Covebdale thus, borrowing the last clause of the pre- 
ceding verse, as if belonging to this : Jpor (Soft fjatfj 
sfjetoeo it unto tfjem, tfjat tfje inbistble tfjingesof (Bab (tfjat 10, 
fjts eberlastinge jiotoer anlr ©oofjeafte) mtgfjt be sene, tofjgle tfjes 
are consitrerelr bg tfje toorftes from tfje creation of tfje toorRre. 

Le Maistre de Sacy translates thus : " For the in- 
visible perfections of God, to wit, his eternal power and 
divinity, are clearly seen since the creation of the world, 
when they are considered in his works." 

This is nearly the same with that of Mr. Wakefield : 
" For his invisible properties, even his eternal power and 
Godhead, when considered in his works, are clearly mani- 
fest, ever since the creation of the world." 

Mr. Wesley thus : — " For those things of him that are 
invisible, both his eternal power and Godhead, are clearly 
seen from the creation of the world, being understood by 
the things that are made." 

Dr. Mace translates the passage thus : " For ever 
since the creation of the world, his eternal power and di- 
vinity, things in themselves invisible, are clearly seen, 
being perceived by the things that are made." This ver- 
sion is very perspicuous, though a little paraphrastic. 

The intelligent reader needs not to be informed, that 


the subject before him is not only vast, but also of vast 
importance. On it, superficial reasoners, and what are 
called free-thinkers, will be uselessly employed. He 
who reads will need to bring all the powers of his mind 
collectively to the consideration ; and he who attempts 
to discuss it, must bring intensity of thought, and as 
much heavenly assistance as God will condescend to im- 
part, which should be sought with all the ardour of 
prayer and faith. Let not the humble writer appear 
arrogant if he use and apply to himself the invocation of 
our great poet ; for while he is availing himself of all the 
helps he can derive from man, he ought especially to 
apply to God : — 

" And chiefly Thou, O Spirit, that dost prefer, 
Before all temples, the upright heart and pure, 
Instruct me ! 

What in me is dark 
Illumine ; what is low, raise and support ; 
That to the height of this great argument, 
I may assert Eternal Providence, 
^And justify the ways of God to man." 

— Milton, Par. Lost, Book I., line 17—26. 

Prop. I. In order to this, I shall endeavour to state 
the doctrine contained in the text. "The invisible 
things of him from the creation," &c. 

1. The apostle, designing to show the Romans that 
they had no excuse for their idolatry and profligacy, 
states that, ever since the creation, when the grand book 
of nature was opened to the inspection of all human 
beings, whosoever desired to read the proofs of the ex- 
istence of the Creator, found them written in the largest 
and most legible characters on everything their eyes 
could behold. All agree, that workmen and artists are 
known by their works ; a painter by bis pictures, and a 
sculptor by his statues. If a person entering a well- 
governed city, admires the order and regularity which 

370 st. Paul's metaphysics ; 

are everywhere apparent, and the wisdom of those by 
whom.its civil policy is administered ; what man is there, 
who, casting a look over the things that appear in the 
world, does not at once perceive the beautiful order and 
harmony which everywhere prevail ? and must he not, con- 
sequently, be led to lift his eye to Him who is the Crea- 
tor, Preserver, and Ruler of the whole ? The creatures 
have their language. The invisible perfections of the 
Creator are manifest in them, as the cause is from which 
a well-known effect proceeds. Their language is not a lan- 
guage unknown ; it proclaims him from whom they have 
derived their being, and their various perfections. The 
heavens declare the glory of God, the firmament shows 
forth his handy-work — their sound has gone out through 
the earth, and their words to the ends of the heavens. 
" I have," said Augustine, " asked the beings which sur- 
round me, Are you my God? They answered, No. I asked, 
If you are not my God, tell me who he is, and where I 
am to find him ? They replied, Your God is he who 
hath made us." This is, in fact, the voice of the whole 
creation, whether animate or inanimate. His invisible 
perfections are manifested by his visible works, and may 
be apprehended by what he has made ; their immensity, 
showing his omnipotence; their great variety and con- 
trivance, his omniscience; and their adaptation to the 
most beneficent purposes, his infinite goodness and phi- 

2. His eternal power, is that almighty energy that ever 
was, and ever will be ; so that ever since there was a 
creation to be surveyed, there were intelligent beings to 
make that survey : and his Godhead — the infinite perfec- 
tions of his nature, manifested in the government and 
support of the universe. His works prove his being ; the 
government and support of them prove it equally. Crea- 
tion and providence form a two-fold demonstration of 


the existence of God: 1. In the perfections of that na- 
ture ; 2. In the exercise of those perfections. 

3. But how is it, that the well-cultivated and intelli- 
gent Romans did not see these things ? Or if they did see 
them, how was it that they derived no benefit from that 
which was so widely spread out for the information and 
instruction of all the inhabitants of the earth? St. Paul 
gives the answer : because of their not liking to retain 
God in their knowledge, they were given up to a repro- 
bate mind, and became filled with all unrighteousness ; 
ver. 28, 29, &c. 

4. Let us look a little into their moral state ; it was 
vicious beyond all precedent, notwithstanding their ad- 

(1) Almost every trace of original righteousness had 
been obliterated. 

(2) The proofs of God's eternal power and providence, 
so manifest in the creation and preservation of the uni- 
verse, were wholly disregarded. 

(3) A vain philosophy without any right principle or 
end, was substituted for those divine truths which had been 
originally discovered to man by means of his creatures. 

(4) In consequence, their hearts were contaminated 
with every vice that could bund the understanding, per- 
vert the judgment, corrupt the will, and debase the affec- 
tions and passions. 

(5) And all this was proved in the most unequivocal 
manner, by a profligacy of conduct which had debased 
them far below the beasts that perish : and the apostle 
here gives a list of their crimes, every article of which 
can be proved from their own writers and history ; crimes 
which, even bad as the world is now, would shock com- 
mon decency to describe. 

(6) From what has been adduced, we see what the 
whole world was ; and what it would have continued to 


be, notwithstanding the evident proofs of the Creator s 
eternal power and Godhead, furnished by every part of 
created nature, had not God sent a divine revelation of 
his will, and established a public ministry to proclaim 
and enforce it. "Were man left to this power and influ- 
ence of his own fallen nature, he would be, in all places 
of his dispersion over the earth, what the apostle de- 
scribes in verses 28, 29, 30, and 31, of this chapter. 
Well may the Christian reader magnify God who has 
called him from so deep a darkness to the marvellous 
light of the glorious gospel of his Son ; and feel himself 
bound to walk as a child of the light, in whom there 
shall be no'cause of stumbling. 

Prop. II. Having taken this general view of the text 
and context, let us consider those proofs of the Being 
and Providence of God which lie level to the capacities 
of all men ; and are so circumstanced, and self-evident, 
that they preclude the possibility of a doubt on the sub- 
ject, and therefore leave the ungodly and profane with- 
out excuse. 

1. As there can be no religion without a God, so there 
can be no morality without religion. If, therefore, the 
work of creation do not afford sufficient evidence of the 
being of a Creator and Preserver ; or if the evidence of 
this be not simple in itself, and level to the eyes and un- 
derstanding of all men ; we need not wonder, when the 
fallen state of man is considered, at the prevalence of false 
notions and corrupt manners in the world : and conse- 
quently, we are obliged to acknowledge that there is 
some excuse for the errors and profligacy of men. 

2. If on the other hand, we find that such evidence of 
creative and superintending energy is liberally afforded ; 
if we do find that these invisible things, the power and 
Godhead of a Supreme Being, are sufficiently manifest in 


the invisible creation, and that every place and all natu- 
ral operations give proof of such power and Godhead ; 
then, as the apostle argues, men are without excuse 
for their idolatry against the being of God, and pro- 
fligacy against his nature, and the order of his govern- 
ment. These, then, are the subjects which aiv to be 
considered in the examination of the text, and the affir- 
mative of the apostle's conclusion is that which is to be 
established or demonstrated. 

3. But in order to this, we must inquire, by what 
means do we acquire that knowledge of which the 
apostle speaks — the knowledge of things themselves, 
and the knowledge of the cause or origin of such things ? 
Knowledge is defined " to consist in the view which the 
mind has of its own ideas," that is, in the perception of" 
the agreement or disagreement of any of our ideas : and 
hence, 1. We can have knowledge no farther than we 
have ideas ; and, 2. We have no knowledge farther than 
we can have perception of their agreement or disagree- 

4. All knowledge is either intuitive, demonstrative, 
or sensitive ; and these are termed the different sorts of 
knowledge : and are, as their names imply, derived from 
intuition, demonstration, or sensation. To these, with 
the leave of the metaphysicians, I would add another, in- 

5. As I shall often have occasion to use the terms, 
Idea and Reason, that the sense in which I use them 
may be understood, I judge it best to define these at 
once, that I may not be chargeable with either the mis- 
apprehensions or ignorance of others. 

1. Idea. lS;a, the original species of things, what is 
first seen or perceived by the mind ; or whatever is the 
object of the understanding when a man thinks; or, 
whatever it is which the mind can be employed about, 

3/4 ST. PAULS metaphysics; 

_ ; 

"when a man is thinking. When a man first perceives, 
then he may be said to have ideas ; for having ideas, 
and perceiving, are the same thing. 

2. Reason is that faculty or power of the mind, whereby 
we infer one thing, from two or more propositions pre- 
mised. Thus, when I am convinced that man cannot be 
the cause of himself originally, and yet he is the effect of 
some cause, I must necessarily infer and conclude man's 
existence is something external and different from him- 
self: it must be from him who is the cause of all things, 
that is God. Reason is that whereby we distinguish 
right from wrong, good from evil, truth from falsehood ; 
or it is the power by which we deduce consequences 
justly, from premises, as in the foregoing case, and one 
proposition from another; or proceed from premises to 
consequences ; and it is also often put for the faculty by 
which this is done. Reason itself, the faculty above de- 
scribed, is ever true and just ; but the reason of every 
particular man, or what he calls reason, may be weak 
and wavering, perpetually swayed and turned by his in- 
terests, his passions, and his vices : because every man's 
reasoning and knowledge is only about the ideas existing 
in his own mind ; and reasoning about other things, is 
only as they correspond with our particular ideas, as 
Swift justly argues. Vice and virtue are not arbitrary 
things ; for there is natural and eternal reason for good- 
ness and virtue, against vice and wickedness. Reason 
is sometimes taken for true and clear principles, some- 
times for clear and fair deductions. But I mean by it, 
as above mentioned, that faculty or power of the mind 
whereby we distinguish generally right from wrong, 
and truth from falsehood ; and by which we are able to 
deduce one proposition from another, and proceed from 
premises to consequences. This faculty is given to every 
man by God himself : but it requires education or in- 


struction, properly to show its use. In many cases in- 
tuition supplies the place of education. It is possessed 
even in a certain degree by the brute creation; but, 
in them, we call it instinct. Man is called a rational 
creature, because he possesses the above defined power : 
and had not this been the case, he would be as incapable 
of performing the regular functions of civil life, as a 
muscle or an oyster. The human being who is destitute 
of this faculty, is called an idiot. He has animal powers, 
but not the rational faculty. He cannot receive princi- 
ples so as to derive consequences from them. He has 
neither intuitive nor demonstrative knowledge; and is 
incapable of both. I do not speak of reason, as iinph- 
hig the mere rational faculty, but that faculty in action, 
distinguishing truth and falsehood : finding out all pro- 
per ends, and the right means of attaining them ; all 
proper objects of knowledge, the use of them, and the 
mode of application. It is the thing Reason in itself, 
not that measure or degree of it, that this or the other 
person may possess, or honestly or disingenuously em- 
ploy. It is that which the faculty called understand- 
ing receives, and in which it resides and works. Under 
God, intuition may be considered as its basis, and in- 
tuition possesses the grand principle from which know- 
ledge is derived ; and God is the immediate author of 
what I call intuition. 

C. Before I proceed to the definitions of the subjects 
ahead v mentioned, it will be necessary to say something 
upon the operations of the soul, in the acquisition of 
knowledge. Most logicians agree in the following posi- 
tions; — 

When the mind turns its view inwardly, upon itself, 
thinking is the first idea that occurs, in which it observes 
a great variety of modifications, and there frames to 
itself distinct ideas. Thus, the perception annexed to 

376 ST. PAULS metaphysics; 

any.impression on the body, made by an external object, 
is called sensation : when the idea recurs, without the 
presence of an object, it is called remembrance : when 
sought after by the mind, and brought again in view, it 
is called recollection : when held, then, long under atten- 
tive consideration, it is called contemplation. When 
ideas float in the mind, without regard or reflection, it is 
called reverie. When the ideas are noticed, and as it 
were, registered in the memory, it is called attention: 
and when the mind fixes its view on any one idea, and 
considers it on all sides, it is called intention or study. 

7- The different degrees of the clearness of our know- 
ledge seem, says Mr. Locke, to lie in the different way 
of perception the mind has of the agreement or disagree- 
ment of any of its ideas. 

I. Intuition. In Latin, intuitus, from in, into, and 
tueor, to see, knowledge not obtained by deduction of 
reason, but instantaneously accompanying the ideas which 
are its object. If we reflect, says Mr. Locke, on our 
own ways of thinking, we shall find, that sometimes the 
mind perceives the agreement, or disagreement of two 
ideas immediately by themselves, without the interven- 
tion of any other. This we may call intuitive knotvledge. 
For in this, the mind is at no pains of proving or ex- 
amining, but perceives the truth as the eye does light, 
only by being directed towards it : thus the mind per- 
ceives that white is not black ; that a circle is not a 
triangle ; that three are more than two, and equal to 
one and two. 

1. Such kind of truths the mind perceives at the first 
sight of the ideas together, by bare intuition, without 
the intervention of any other idea. And this kind ot 
knowledge is the clearest and most certain of which hu- 
man frailty is capable. This part of knowledge is irre- 
sistible ; and like bright sunshine forces itself immedi- 


ately to be perceived, as soon as ever the mind turns its 
view that way, and leaves no room for doubt, hesitation, 
or examination ; for the mind is immediately filled with its 
light. All the objects of intuition are self-evident truths. 
2. On this intuition depend all the certainty and evi- 
dence of our knowledge ; which certainty, every one finds 
to be so great, that he cannot imagine, and therefore 
cannot require a greater. For a man cannot perceive 
himself capable of a greater certainty than to know, 
that any idea in his mind is such as he perceives it to 
be ; and that two ideas, wherein he perceives a differ- 
ence, are different, and not precisely the same. He 
that demands a greater certainty than this, demands he 
knows not what, and shows only that he has a mind to 
be a sceptic, without being able to be such. 

II. Demonstration. Latin, demonstratio, from de, by, 
and monstro, to show ; to prove evidently, or unanswer- 
ably. Certainty depends so wholly upon intuition, that 
in this degree of knowledge, called demonstration, this 
first degree intuition is necessary, in all the connexions 
of intermediate ideas, without which, we cannot attain 
knowledge and certainty : for demonstration implies, 
that degree of knowledge in which the mind perceives 
the agreement or disagreement of any ideas, but not im- 
mediately. Demonstration is the highest degree of proof 
of which reason is capable of attaining ; and thus brought 
about, by a train of arguments, drawn from such plain 
axioms, or self-evident truths, as cannot be denied by any 
reasonable mind. It not only proves the point to the 
highest degree of certainty, but in such a manner as to 
reduce the contrary position to evident absurdity. 

1. Though wherever the mind perceives the agreement 
or disagreement of any of its ideas, there be certain 
knowledge ; yet it does not always happen, that the 
mind sees that agreement or disagreement which there 


is between them, even where it is discoverable : and in 
tha"t case, remains in ignorance, and at most, gets no far- 
ther than probable conjecture. The reason why the mind 
gets no farther than probable conjecture, and cannot 
always perceive immediately the agreement or disagree- 
ment of two ideas is, because those ideas concerning 
whose agreement or disagreement inquiry is made, can- 
not, by the mind, be so put together as to show it. In 
this case, then, when the mind cannot so bring its ideas 
together, as by their immediate comparison, or applica- 
tion one to another, to perceive their agreement or dis- 
agreement, it is obliged by the intervention of other ideas, 
one or more, as it happens, to discover the agreement or 
disagreement which it seeks, and this is that which we 
call reasoning. 

2. In every step reason makes in demonstrative know- 
ledge, there is an intuitive knowledge of that agreement 
or disagreement, it seeks with the next intermediate idea, 
which it uses as a proof: for if it were not so, that yet 
would need a proof, since without the perception of such 
agreement or disagreement, there is no knowledge pro- 
duced. If it be perceived by itself, it is intuitive know- 
ledge : — if it cannot be perceived by itself, there is need 
of some intervening idea, as a common measure, to show 
their agreement or disagreement : by which it is plain 
that every step in reasoning, that produces knowledge 
has intuitive certainty. 

3. These two, intuition and demonstration, are th« 
degrees of our knowledge : whatever comes short of on< 
of these, with whatsoever assurance it may be embraced 
is but faith or opinion, but not knowledge, at least in al 
general truths. 

III. Sensation. Latin, sensatio, and thus from sm 
sus. Sentio, " to perceive," particularly by impression 0) 
the senses ; feeling. This is a perception of the mind 


* employed about the particular existence of finite beings 
without us ; which, going beyond bare probability, and 
yet not reaching perfectly to any of the foregoing de- 
grees of certainty, passes under the name of knowledge. 
There can be nothing more certain than that the idea 
we receive from an external object is in our minds: 
this is intuitive knowledge. But whether there be any 
more than barely that idea in our minds, whether we 
can thence certainly infer the existence of anything with- 
out us, which corresponds to that idea, is that, whereof 
some men think there may be a question made ; because 
men may have such ideas in their minds, when no such 
thing exists; when no such object affects their senses. 
But yet here, I think, we are provided with an evidence, 
that puts us past doubting : for, I ask any one, whether 
he be not invincibly conscious to himself of a different 
perception, when he looks on the sun by day, and thinks 
on him by night ; when he actually tastes wormwood, 
or smells a rose, and when he only thinks on the savour 
of the one, and the odour of the other ? We p& plainly 
find the difference there is between an idea revived in 
our minds by our own memory, and actually coming 
into our minds by our senses, as we do by any two dis- 
tinct ideas. If any one say, " A dream may do the same 
thing ; and all these ideas may be produced in us with- 
out any external objects :" he may please to dream that 
I make him this answer, 

1. That it is no great matter whether I remove this 
scruple or not: where all is but dream, reasoning and 
arguments are of no use; truth and knowledge no- 

2. That I believe he will allow a very manifest differ- 
ence between dreaming of being in the fire, and being 
actually in it. But if he be resolved to be so sceptical 
as to maintain that what I call being actually in the fire 


380 st. Paul's metaphysics; 

is nothing but a dream, and we cannot thereby certainly 
know that any such thing as fire actually exists without 
us ; I answer, that we certainly finding that pleasure or 
pain follows upon the application of certain objects to 
us, whose existence we perceive, or dream that we per- 
ceive, by our senses, this certainly is as great as our 
happiness or misery, beyond which we have no concern- 
ment to know or to be ; so that I think we may add 
to the two former sorts of knowledge this also of the 
existence of particular external objects, by that percep- 
tion, or consciousness we have of the actual entrance of 
ideas from them, and allow these three degrees of know- 
ledge, viz., intuitive, demonstrative, and sensitive ; in 
each of which there are different degrees and ways of 
evidence and certainty. So far Mr. Locke, on the 
Degrees of Knowledge, b. iv., c. 2. 

IV But I think we may fairly plead for a fourth 
sort of knowledge, or mode of receiving knowledge, viz., 
the inspiration of the Almighty ; a powerful impression 
made on the mind of man by the Spirit of God, by 
which he is made to perceive certain things of which he 
had no previous knowledge, and which either exist in 
some place distant from him, to which he has no access, 
or to take place in a certain time which is future, and 
of which he can have no knowledge. I mean certain 
knowledge; for conjecture, or guessing, or opinion, can 
have no place here. 

1. The revelation by inspiration, referred to here, must 
have all the force and persuasion of intuition. The subject 
revealed is seen intuitively, and the mind has no more 
doubt concerning the truth of what is revealed than it has 
that two and two make four ; that two taken from it will 
leave two, — no more, no less ; that black and white are 
not alike, for black is not white, and white is not black, as 
there is the fullest intuitive perception that this is so ; 


and that the contrary is wholly impossible. Thus the 
man feels by a divine influence upon his mind that the 
things are so, or will be so, according to the supernatural 
impression made upon it; and in this persuasion is in- 
cluded, that God is its author, and that what is thus 
known is pure truth, and is in no wise associated with 
deception or falsity. All these points are fully perceived 
in the inspired mind, and it waits with the utmost con- 
fidence for the fulfilment ; while the exact fulfilment 
verifies the divine afflatus, and the prophetic dictum. 
Knowledge of future events has always been given in 
this way ; and the exact fulfilment of the sayings of the 
prophets has ever been the plenary proof that the all- 
wise and infinitely true God has thus communicated 
knowledge to man. 

2. In the soul itself there is a sense that can perceive 
this ; and probably it is perceived by the same faculty 
which is the subject of intuition. The existence of pro- 
phecy is the proof of divine inspiration ; the fulfilment 
of prophetic predictions is the proof that God has spoken 
to man ; that is, that the invisible Being has made him- 
self known by the incomprehensible inspiration of his 
own Spirit, foretelling future events, referring to nearer 
or more remote portions of futurity. 

3. These are the different degrees and kinds of know- 
ledge, and the ways in which they are acquired, or ex- 
ercised, of which metaphysicians and divines speak. 
Some appear to be innate, and others are acquired by great 
mental exercise and cultivation. That which is most 
common, most useful, and which is the base of all others, 
and the coadjutor in all mental disquisitions, the last 
excepted, is intuition. 

Lord Kaimes contends for another sense in the mind, 
which he terms the sense of deity, which he supposes, 
and with great probability, to be common to all human 

r 2 

382 st. Paul's metaphysics ; 

beings. It is possessed by all nations, even the most 
uncultivated, and the most savage ; nor does it appear 
to be produced by reasoning, or induction from cause 
and effect. The Greenlander, mentioned by Crantz, 
seems to have had his knowledge of the existence, 
wisdom, and power of one Supreme Being, by a very 
simple but conclusive mode of arguing from effect to 
cause. One of the Danish missionaries, speaking to a 
native, expatiated on the great advantages which he and 
his countrymen had received since the knowledge of the 
true God was preached among them ; the Greenlander 
answered thus: "It is true we were poor ignorant heathens, 
and knew little of a God before you came, but you must 
not imagine that no Greenlander thinks about these 
things. A kajak (boat), with all its tackle and imple- 
ments cannot exist but by the labour of man ; and one 
who does not understand it would spoil it. But the 
meanest bird requires more skill than the best kajak ; 
and no man can make a bird. There is still more skill 
required to make a man ; by whom then was he made ? 
He proceeded from his parents, and they from their 
parents ; but some must have been the first parents ; 
whence did they proceed? Common report says, that 
they grew out of the earth ; if so, why do not men still 
grow out of the earth ? and from whence came the earth 
itself, the sun, the moon, and the stars ? Certainly there 
must be some Being who made all these things ; a Being 
more wise than the wisest man." Thus reasoned the 

4. But I believe, with Lord Kaimes, that it is scarcely 
ever found that savages reason from effects to their causes; 
it is exceedingly difficult to bring them thus to reason ; 
and although the Greenlander in question might have 
had, as all mankind appear to have, a sense of the ex- 
istence of a Supreme Being, yet I doubt whether he, or 


any of his countrymen, reasoned thus till they had re- 
ceived Christianity. I have known heathens without any 
correct knowledge of God as the Creator. All with them 
was eternal ; " things are now as they have ever been, 
and ever will remain the same ;" Dherma Rama, and 
Munhi Rathana, two Budhist high-priests from the 
Island of Ceylon, at first reasoned thus ; yet they were 
very intelligent men, and well learned. But when I 
came to press them on the point, " if the world was 
eternal, if everything that exists has ever existed, then 
nothing has been created; and if no Creator, consequently 
no God — no supreme, infinite, intellectual Being;" this 
consequence they were very unwilling to allow. They 
said, " They ever had a notion of such a Being, and after 
they were fully instructed in Christianity they became 
much ashamed of their former ignorance." The truth 
seems to be, they had a sort of sense, or confused notion 
of a Supreme Being ; but they could not reason upon it. 
He was a Being that existed, but they had no notion of 
his exercise of power. Their creed gave him nothing to 
do, either in the way of creation or providence. They 
had the sense of Deity, but no notion of his exercise of 
unlimited power, infinite wisdom, and unbounded good- 
ness. They had a sense of the existence of an eternal 
power and Godhead, these " invisible things ;" but as they 
denied all creation, they could not, while their creed 
remained, reason from effects to their causes; hence, 
they had no distinct notion of the work or government 
of that Being, whose existence, from that internal sense, 
they were obliged to acknowledge. 

5. Lord Kaimes contends, and I am fully of the same 
mind, that this feeling is universal, and that no nation 
has ever been discovered that was completely atheistical. 
The conclusions drawn from the state of the Hottentots, 
and others, relative to their having no God, no mode of 

384 st. pattl's metaphysics ; 

worship, are either false, or too hastily formed. Try any 
heathens, and point your questions so as they may bear 
on what, after Lord Kaimes, I call, the sense of Deity, 
and it will he found to be universal. It will appear 
also, that neither a fear of unseen evil, nor reasoning 
from effects to their causes, ever led to this general know- 
ledge of a supreme power ; " and what other cause," says 
his lordship, "can be laid hold of? One still remains, 
and imagination itself cannot figure another. To make 
this knowledge universal, the image of the Deity must 
be stamped on the mind of every human being; the 
ignorant, equally with the knowing ; nothing less is suf- 
ficient ; and the original conception we have of a Deity 
must proceed from an internal sense, which may be 
termed the Sense op Deity." 

By the image of the Deity being stamped on the mind 
of all human beings, is not meant the moral image, that 
is righteousness and true holiness ; but the idea, sense, 
or mental conception of the existence of such a Being ; 
and we have divine authority to assert that this comes 
from God. The following Scripture is full to the point : 
"There was a man sent from God, for a witness, — to 
bear witness of the Light, that all men through him 
might believe. That was the true Light that lighteth 
every man that cometh into the world ;" John i. 6, 9. 
By this internal, universal influence, every man is brought 
into a salvable state ; and all are brought into this state 
that they may be saved. Hence, "Jesus Christ, by the 
grace of God, has tasted death for every man." It is 
from this true Light, this sense of Deity, this intuitive 
knowledge of God, this pure unsullied reason, which 
himself has implanted in every human soul, that man 
is capable of discerning truth, and of reasoning concern- 
ing truth, or right principles. It is the basis of all 
knowledge ; without it none can arrive at demonstrative 

■ A DISCOURSE ON ROM. I. 20. 385 

evidence relative to the being or perfections of God. 
From it, the argument a priori is deduced ; arid by it, 
the argument a posteriori is seen to have its consecutive 
force. In short, without it man would differ little from 
the brute, but in the use of speech ; and without it, all 
arguments concerning God and his perfections would be 
nugatory, and might as well be addressed to infants as to 
men. Without it, greatness and goodness had never 
been in the world ; and without it, that eminent heathen 
had never astonished Rome by his philosophy and elo- 
quence, for he was proof in point of his own important 
assertion : Nemo vir magnus sine aliquo afflatu divino 
unquam fuit ; " Never was there a great man without 
divine inspiration." Cicero, 2. De Nat. Deor. c. ult. 
Little do great men consider to whom they are indebted 
for their eminence. Like Herod, they may speak like a 
God ; but if they give not to the Supreme Deity his 
glory, they shall die like men, and be eaten by worms ! 

Prop. III. How the preceding reasonings and facts may 
apply to the doctrine of the apostle, I shall now more 
particularly consider. The text says, " For the invisible 
things of him from the creation of the world are clearly 
seen, being understood by the things that are made, 
even his eternal power and Godhead," or, as it is more 
intelligibly translated by Mr. Wesley, " For those things 
of him that are invisible, both his eternal power and 
Godhead, are clearly seen from the creation of the world, 
being understood by the things that are made." That is, 
we may be able to find out the being and perfections of 
a God by arguing from effect to cause ; from the work 
to the workman ; from the visible works of creation to 
the invisible Creator. There are works ; therefore, there 
was a creation. There is a creation ; therefore, there is 
a Creator. What kind of a Creator will soon appear. 

386 ST. PAULS metaphysics; 

"We have already seen that there is a sense in the 
human mind called intuition, by which we perceive the 
truth of many propositions, such as the following : 

1. That everything that begins to exist must have a 

2. That every effect adapted to some end or purpose, 
must have a designing cause. And, 

3. That every effect adapted to a good end or purpose, 
must proceed from a designing and benevolent cause. 

That there are things existing, — that these things show 
design in their existence, — and that such things tend to 
beneficent ends, are propositions which I suppose to 
be granted, or that they are evidently indisputable. 
Hence I argue, 

1. That nothing which begins to exist can exist with- 
out a cause, is self-evident. It is a proposition, the truth 
of which is intuitively perceived ; and from it we can, 
with the utmost evidence and satisfaction, conclude, that 
some one Being must have existed before all that now 
exists, did exist ; and if before all things that now exist 
or were ever known to exist, consequently from all eter- 
nity. This is as self-evident (to speak after the manner 
of mathematicians) as, that " the three angles of a tri- 
angle are equal to two right angles ;" or, that two added 
to two to make four, neither more nor less ; or, that two 
taken from four leave two behind, neither more nor 
less ; nor can these things be possibly different from 
what is here stated ; nor can that which has a beginning 
of existence exist without a cause. 

From the relation that subsists between cause and 
effect, and from what has been stated above, it may be 
demonstrated : 

That there exists a good and intelligent Being, who is 
the cause of all the wise and beneficent effects that are 
produced in the government of the world. That there 


are such effects is the fundamental proposition, which is 
taken for granted. It is an intuitive truth, and is amply 
verified by experience. Now, in order to discover the 
cause of these effects, we must begin with the intuitive 
proposition, viz. : 

2. That every effect adapted to a good end or purpose, 
proceeds from a designing and benevolent cause. 

Let us look here at what is called providence, includ- 
ing providence; that which foresees and provides for 
the wants of all creatures ; creatures yet unproduced in 
the different families, and species of the different genera 
formed at the creation. I cannot enter here into par- 
ticulars; I am not writing a natural history, and can 
only introduce some principles that will assist the reader 
in his own examinations. 

Let us look at the different parts of animal beings, 
the adaptation of these parts to the benevolent purposes 
of the Creator. Examine the structure of the organs of 
the different senses ; those by which we see, hear, smell, 
taste, and feel ; the places occupied by these organs, or 
their situation in different animals ; their use for the 
preservation, safety, comfort, and delight of their pos- 
sessors ; the means by which they choose and distinguish 
that aliment most suitable to them ; that, by which they 
can be best nourished, and thus obtain the greatest 
quantum of strength, and volume of growth, which is 
suited to their ends and uses. To these may be added, 
the powers employed in the nutrition of plants and ani- 
mals ; the adaptation of the parts of animal and veget- 
able substances for the nourishment of living animals ; 
the preparation of those agents by which vegetables are 
produced ; the correct proportion of alimentary sub- 
stances to the bodies to be nourished ; the increasable 
vegetative power of the soil, to produce more and more, 
as the increasing demand may render necessary, &c. ; 




and who can help seeing when all these are brought 
before" the mind (and ten thousand other considerations 
might be added), that all the things that are made mani- 
fest a Creator, working according to design, and for the 
most beneficent ends. 

Prop. IV After this examination, the next step is to 
inquire, what is the cause of all these wonders ? 

1. Is it Man ? Ans. : Man, it is true, is possessed of 
some share of wisdom and benevolence ; but the effects 
above stated are most evidently far above his power, and 
not less above his wisdom. Independently of their cre- 
ation, the different agents, without which he can do 
nothing, must be presumed as existing ; and must be 
considered as requiring an Almighty power, as well to 
guide and employ them as to produce them ; for there is 
not less energy required to maintain and command them 
than there was required to give them a being. Now, 
all this is ineffably above all the skill, wisdom, energy, 
and power of man. Man himself is but a creature ; he 
requires continual support ; he lives, moves, and has 
his being in and from God ; and without God he can do 

2. Was it those beings called Angels, whether dis- 
tinguished as cherubim, seraphim, dominions, princi- 
palities, thrones, powers, &c. To these (alleged as the 
cause of those wonders of creation and providence) we 
may say without hesitation, they are not. They are 
only creatures, and we are not informed that they pos- 
sess unerring wisdom or supreme power. They have 
created nothing, they preserve and govern nothing. They 
are spirits, and, as his ministers, a flame of fire. They 
are all sent forth as servants, to minister to them that 
are heirs of salvation. Nothing of creation or provi- 
dence is ever attributed to them; and as dependent 


beings, they must be ranked among the creatures of his 
power, that can neither act nor live but by him. There- 
fore, none of these effects can be produced by any kind 
of angelic agency. 

3. But let us confine ourselves to what we see pro- 
duced on the surface of this lower world, and inquire, 
can the earth produce these proofs of wisdom and energy ? 
No ; for its vegetative power it derives principally from 
other agents, light, heat, air, moisture, and from a great 
•variety of chemical changes which take place in the 
atmosphere, as well as in substances in and under the 
surface of the earth. The earth, therefore, is neither an 
adequate cause nor any cause of its own fertility or 

4. But let us ascend to the heavenly bodies, the sun, 
moon, planets, and their satellites; to the stars which 
are innumerable, scattered over the north and south 
vortex of heaven ; and to those starry collections called 
constellations, to which astrology has attributed so much 
power and influence ; and ask, have they either pro- 
duced sublunary beings, or are they the authors of sum- 
mer, winter, autumn, spring, heat, cold, snow, rain, dew, 
or any of those meteors that argue different states of the 
atmosphere ? Do they produce, direct, and govern the 
electric fluid? Do they bend the forked lightnings, 
and launch the terrific thunder-bolt ? So far from that, 
there is not even one of them sentient ; they know 
nothing of their own existence, and are blind, passive, 
unconscious agents, in his hands, who is unlimited 
wisdom and power. 

If then these, and all that can be imagined of this 
kind, must be excluded from being the authors of the 
animal and vegetable life, which is endlessly varied in 
this lower world, we are unavoidably led to an invisible 
Being, possessed of boundless power, intelligence, and 


goodness ; and this invisible Being is, what is termed, 
GOD !• See Kaimes' " Principles of Eeason." 

Thus then we have seen that a serious consideration 
of the work of creation has, ever since its commence- 
ment, been sufficient to point out the skill, power, and 
benevolence, of the invisible Creator ; that all who thus 
considered it must have been convinced of the being of 
a God ; and that those who did not know him as God, 
and those who did not glorify him as God, were without 
excuse ; which is the apostle's conclusion, of the cor- 
rectness of which we have had the most satisfactory 

Prop. V There is, however, a point of considerable 
importance in the reasoning of the apostle, which requires 
a more distinct consideration. He calls those things of 
God, which he terms invisible, aopara, his eternal power 
and Godhead, a'iSioc avrov dwa/itg icai Qeiorris. Is it likely 
that the Romans, or any other heathens, could acquire 
the proper notion of God's eternity, by considering the 
works of creation ? Now, in order to answer this ques- 
tion satisfactorily, it will be necessary to define the term, 
and inquire how the mind comes to acquire the idea of 
a duration that seems in every view of the subject to be 

1. Duration, therefore, is the first thing to be con- 
sidered ; because, from it, we have the first idea of eter- 
nity. The most direct and simple definition of this 
term in our language is that which almost every common 
dictionary supplies, "Duration, without beginning and 
without end." The word of the apostle, diSiog, from an, 
ever, is nearly of the same import, and signifies per- 
petual duration. 

2. Eternal and infinite are often used to express the 
same idea. Infinite is that which has no end. Eternal 


is that which subsists always ; and is the same as endless 

Finite, and infinite, must be considered as the modes 
of quantity ; and both are attributed to things that have 
parts, and are capable of increase or diminution by the 
addition or substraction of any, the least, part. When 
we apply this idea to the Supreme Being, we do it pri- 
marily in respect to his duration and ubiquity or omnipre- 
sence ; more figuratively, when we apply it to his wisdom, 
power, goodness, and his other attributes, which are in- 
exhaustible, and incomprehensible. For when we call 
them infinite, we have no other idea of this infinity, but 
that which carries with it some reflection on the number 
or the extent of the acts or objects of God's power and 
wisdom, which can never be supposed so great or so 
many, that these attributes will not always surmount and 
exceed, though we multiply them in our thoughts with 
the infinity of endless number. 

3. Every one who has any idea of any stated lengths 
of space, as foot, yard, &c, finds that he can repeat that 
idea, and join it to another, to a third, and so on, with- 
out ever coming to an end of its additions. From this 
power of enlarging his idea of space, he takes the idea 
of infinite space or immensity. By the same power of 
repeating the idea of any length of duration we have in 
our minds, with all the endless addition of numbers, we 
come to the idea of eternity. 

4. Duration is the idea we get from the fleeting and 
perpetually perishing parts of succession. The simple 
modes of it are, any different lengths of it whereof we 
have distinct ideas, as hours, days, years, centuries, 
time, &c. Duration, as marked by certain periods or 
measures, is that which we most properly term Time, 
which we measure by the daily and annual revolutions 
of the sun, which are constant, regular, and universally 

392 st. paul's metaphysics; 

observed by all mankind ; the mind, having got such a 
measure of time as the annual revolution of the sun, can 
easily apply it to duration, where that measure itself did 
not exist. The idea of duration equal to an annual 
revolution of the sun, is as easily applicable in our 
thoughts to duration where no sun nor motion is, as 
the idea of a foot or a yard to distance beyond the 
confines of the world, where there are no bodies at all. 
By the same means, therefore, and from the same original, 
that we have the idea of time, we have also some idea 
of eternity. For having got the ideas of certain lengths 
of duration, we can, in our thoughts, add these to one 
another, as oft as we please, without ever coming to an 

5. But it may be said, " If our idea of infinity be got 
by repeating without end our ideas, why do we not 
attribute it to other ideas as well as to those of space 
and duration ; since they may be as easily and as often 
repeated in our own minds as the other ?" It is answered, 
" nobody ever thinks of infinite sweetness, infinite white- 
ness, though he can repeat the idea of sweet, or white, 
as frequently as those of yard, and day. But those 
ideas that have parts, and are capable of increase by the 
addition of any parts, afford us, by their repetition, an 
idea of infinity; because, with the endless repetition, 
there is continued an enlargement of which there is no 

6. But it is not so in the other ideas ; for if to the per- 
fect idea we have of white, we add another of equal 
whiteness, it does not at all enlarge our idea. Those 
ideas that do not consist of parts cannot be augmented 
to what proportion men please ; or be stretched beyond 
what they have received by their senses ; but space, du- 
ration, and number, being capable of increase by repe- 
tition, leave in the mind an idea of endless room for 


more ; and so those ideas alone lead the mind towards 
the thought of infinity. See Locke. Thus we see how 
the ideas of eternity and infinity are gendered, and how 
satisfactorily the mind arrives at a rational conception of 
both ; though at first view everything appears incompre- 

Prop. VI. Next we should inquire whether the 
Romans did acquire the proper notion of God's eternity ; 
or what the apostle terms, the eternal power and God- 
head of one supreme all-perfect Being by these means. 

1. A few testimonies from their own writers will be 
sufficient on this point. Cicero, one of the greatest lights 
of the Gentile world, speaks of eternity in its proper 
acceptation, and with such explanations as sufficiently 
proves that he had, on various occasions, a clear concep- 
tion of what St. Paul means by the eternal power and 
Godhead. He assumes, as a principle not to be disputed, 
that there is no nation of people, howsoever wild or bar- 
barous, whose minds were not imbued with the belief of 
the existence of the gods; and that there is an all- 
powerful divine nature. 

Nulla gens tarn fera, nemo omnium tam est immanis 
cujus mentem non imbuerit deorum opinio, omnes tamen 
esse vim et naturam divinam arbitrantur. — Tusc, lib. i.. 
cap. 12. 

2. He asks also, what can be more plain and evident, 
when we behold the heavens, and contemplate the celes- 
tial luminaries) than that there is a Deity of superexcel- 
lent intelligence, that "governs the whole ? 

Quid enim potest esse tam apertum, tamque perspi- 
cuum, cum ccelum suspeximus, coelestiaque contemplati 
sumus, quam esse aliquid numen prestantissimse mentis, 
quo haec regantur? — De Nat. Deor. lib. ii., cap. 2. 

He farther asserts: that there is an excellent and 

394 st. Paul's metaphysics ; 

eternal nature which should be acknowledged and ad- 
mired* by mankind ; the beauty of creation, and the 
order of the celestial bodies, compel us to confess. 

Esse praestantem aliquam seternamque naturam, et earn 
suspiciendam admirandamque hominum generi, pulchri- 
tudo mundi, ordoque rerum coelestium cogit confiteri.— 
De Div., lib. ii., cap. 72. 

3. He resumes the same subject, and asserts that no 
man who contemplates the heavens can be so thoroughly 
devoid of sense, as not to acknowledge the gods : and 
that the harmony and order of things could not be esta- 
blished and maintained by any other influence, &c. 

Quis est tam vecor, qui aut, cum suspexerit in ccelum, 
deos esse non sentiat, et ea, quae tanta mente fiunt, ut 
vix quisquam arte ulla ordinam rerum ac necessitudinem 
per sequi possit, casu fieri putet : aut, cum deos esse in- 
tellexerit, non intelligat, eorum numine hoc tantum im- 
perium esse natum, et auctum, et retentum? — De Harusp. 
Resp. orat. 30. 

And he seems to consider, with Epicurus, that the 
chief pre-eminence of the divine nature consists in its 
goodness and eternity. 

Quid est igitur, cur ita semper Deum appellet Epi- 
curus, beatum et seternum ; dempta enim aeternitate, 
nihilo beatior Jupiter quam Epicurus. — De Finib. Bon. 
et Mai., lib. ii., cap. 27. 

Eternity is attributed to the gods, in several places, 
by Ovid ; Fast., lib. vi., c. 322 :— 

Convocat aternos ad sua festa deot> 
" She invites the eternal gods to their feasts." 

These eternal gods were invoked to witness and con- 
firm their most solemn oaths : 

Crede, nee aaternos pondus habere deos Rem. Am 

ver. 88. 


Jove erat, aeternos vincere posse deos. — Fast., lib. iii. 
1. 804. 

And everywhere it is manifest, that they have derived 
the idea of the divine excellence and eternity, from the 
works of creation, as the preceding extracts prove ; and 
thus St. Paul's assertion is proved, viz. that the invisible 
perfections of God, even his eternal power and divinity, 
have become visible ever since the creation of the world, 
by that knowledge which we derive from his creatures. 

4, But it may be asked, what was the precise idea 
which the ancients formed of eternity ? and how should 
we in a general way conceive of it ? Eternity, with 
them, was being or existence without beginning and 
without end ; and the eternal Being they considered to 
be that from which all being or existence sprung; the 
cause of all things, and the supporter of all things. As 
to this Being himself, everything is manifest, not by suc- 
cessive examinations, but at once and the same moment ; 
therefore he exists everywhere ; to him there is nothing 
future, nothing past, because he exists in all that we can 
conceive to be future, and equally so in all that is to us 
as past. Hence God must fill all that which can be con- 
ceived as eternity ; one infinite Now, which cannot be 
scanned by anything we know of duration, or measured 
in the way of time by motion, either revolving in itself, 
or passing onward in endless progression. This infinite, 
and indeed incomprehensible now measures nothing, and 
is measured by nothing ; it can assume no attribute of 
time, and is without parts : nothing relative to it can be 
anticipated ; it is not coming forward : nothing can be 
recollected as being past in that incomprehensible dura- 
tion. Where there is no measure of duration, there can 
be neither past nor future : where, therefore, there is 
neither past nor future, and yet there is a Being who is 
the author of time and existence, then the nearest idea 

396 ST. PAULS metaphysics; 

we can form of the mode of existence of that Being, is 
the incomprehensible now. We have from this the idea 
of existence, but of an existence that is immense — that 
has not been measured, is immeasurable, and conse- 
quently, incomprehensible. Some have been bold 
enough, and indeed, foolish enough to call this incom- 
prehensible now nonsense. Let them only examine 
carefully the ground of their own assertion, and they 
will find it leaving them in the inconceivableness of total 
non-existence, and the bottomless pit of Atheism. 

I term the existence of God in eternity, an eternal 
now; an infinite now; an incomprehensible now. I 
mean by this, existence and duration ; but an existence 
and duration that belong not to time, that has no relation 
to, or connexion with, time ; and consequently, can have 
none of the characteristics of time, or measured, or mea- 
surable duration. Therefore the past or future of time, 
or duration measured by motion, or revolution, can have 
no place here ; at least, so it appears to my mind, and in 
this sense I apprehend it. It is eternity ; and his being 
who comprehends all things is eternal. This is a dura- 
tion, sui generis, like that of God himself; and by the 
term now, I mean existence, and existence in the present 
moment ; an existence, as I conceive it, to which I can 
attach none of the affections or attributes of time. But 
according to my conception, all those who have argued 
on this point have confounded the affections and charac- 
teristics of time with their consideration of eternal dura- 
tion ; and not only confound eternal duration with time 
onward, unlimitably considered, but confound God with 
matter. They materialize God, and then they make 
him the subject of geometrical and chronological admea- 
surement. How incautious, to say the least of it, are 
the words, " A cubical foot is a real part of the Divine 
infinitude ; a single hour is a real part of the Divine 


eternity !" and such questions as these ; "Does the exist- 
ence of the Deity endure or continue from one period to 
another, and from one date to another?" — "If the Deity 
must endure and continue in being from one period to 
another, and if his continuance of being is without 
origin and without end, can it be possible for his actual 
and personal existence to be confined to one indivisible 
point of present duration called now ?" I have said that 
the now which I use in reference to the eternal existence 
of God, means nothing in respect of time ; is not con- 
ceived in any reference to time ; nor can we, with any 
consistency, speak of God in his eternity, existing from 
one period to another. He had an eternal existence 
before time was, and will exist the same when time shall 
be no more. We may mark his existence in reference 
to ourselves, and the times in which we have existed, 
and in those to which we may have our existence ex- 
tended, and say, God was fifty years ago ; God will be 
thirty years hence ; but these considerations have nothing 
to do with God's eternal existence. Time belongs to the 
solar system ; began with it, and will end with it : but 
its duration, its past, its future, can have no reference to 
eternity ; for that ever has been, and ever will be un- 
affected by it. Eternity is a duration sui generis, and to 
say God that dwells in it in his past duration, and will 
dwell in eternity in its future duration, is again con- 
founding it with time, the solar system duration. How 
much more nobly did the prophet conceive and speak on 
this subject, when he makes the following address, "Thus 
saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity !" 
Here are no points, no periods ; here is no consecutive 
succession, no successive existence. It is eternity ! and, 
speaking after the manner of men, whatever be its whole 
he occupies it. He dwells in it all ; he fills it. In it 
there is no room for past and future. Where there is 

398 st. Paul's metaphysics; 

no beginning ; where there is no end — no middle — no 
parts ; and where there is, notwithstanding, an infinite, 
intelligent, unlimited, and omnipotent Being — that is 
eternity ! and the Being that inhabits it is the incom- 
prehensible JEHOVAH. This existence I call the 
an uv, the always being — the eternal now, as explained 
above. But he is in his holy temple, enshrined in his 
own eternity. Let all the earth keep silence before him ! 
He exists not after the manner of those to whom he 
gave being and life. 

The first satisfactory idea we have of the eternity of 
God, we have from himself. I AM, Exod. iii. 14 : 
Vitin -run rrnx eheych asher eheyeh, " I am what I am" — 
or " I will be what I will be," which the Septuagint ren- 
der tyta Hfit 6 a>v, I am the existence, the self-existent. 
This is the same, in sense and substance, with our Lord's 
declaration, Rev. i. 8 : " Ey&» etfii to a, km to Q, ap%n *tu 
TtXoe, \syti 6 Kvpiog, b <ov, kcu b i)V, Kai b ip%0)itvos' I am 
Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, saith the 
Lord, He who is, and who was, and who cometh." Here 
he declares his own eternity; ever-existing, and the 
cause of existence to all beings, and their dependence 
entirely upon himself. He ever was, he ever is, he ever 
cometh. He was from eternity, and is to eternity. He 
is the beginning and the end, the first and the last. He 
was before time ; he will be when time is no more. He 
was the first of beings, and the last of all spiritual and 
material entities. Nothing is eternal, properly speaking, 
but himself. 

5. Eternity has been considered, in reference to time, 
as divided into two parts ; and these parts have been 
denominated by philosophers thus: ajternitas a parte 
ante, the eternity that was before time commenced ; and 
asternitas a parte post, the eternity that shall be when 
time is no more. When creation took place, time com- 


menced ; for the work of creation was ascertained and 
measured by the revolution of bodies then made : but 
before anything was made there was an eternity ; and 
when the universe shall be destroyed, there will be an 
eternity after. Eternity we consider to be an unchanging 
thing, and an unchanging state. All that belongs to 
time is changeable and changing ; yet it is a measured 
duration ; but such a duration does not possess any attri- 
bute of eternity. In eternity the intervention of time 
makes no change ; the before and after of time only 
occasions a division in our ideas relative to duration be- 
fore time, and duration after time. To sublunary things 
we apply the measurements of time ; but to God and 
his mode of existence, we apply the proper attributes of 
eternity ! 

6. In this eternal whole, God represents himself as 
dwelling in that wonderful conception in the prophet's 
mind, and in that no less wonderful language by which 
he was inspired to declare it : — 

" Thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth 
eternity, whose name is holy : I dwell in the high and 
holy place ; with him also who is of a humble spirit, to 
revive the spirit of the humble, and revive the heart of 
the contrite ones," Isai. lvii. 15. 

Or, according to the translation of Bishop Lowth : 

For thus saith Jehovah, the High and the Lofty ; 

Inhabiting eternity ; and whose name is the Holy One : 

The high and the lofty place will I inhabit ; 

And with the contrite and humble of spirit ; 

To revive the spirit of the humble ; 

And to give life to the heart of the contrite. 

Hear, then, the declaration of God himself: 

Thus saith Jehovah, the High and the Lofty ; 
Inhabiting eternity, and whose name is the Holy One. 

400 ST. PAULS metaphysics; 

W I3iv shoken ad. The radical idea of ">v ad is onwards, 
further; and as a noun it signifies futurity, eternity. 
132' shoken is the participle, and signifies continued pos- 
session, occupying, inhabiting. Thus, whether we con- 
sider the a^ternitas a parte ante, or the asternitas a parte 
post, the eternity before time was, and the eternity since 
time began to exist, all this eternity is inhabited by Je- 
hovah. " The full round of whole eternity ;" that state 
of which Mr. Cowley says ; 

Nothing there is to come, and nothing past, 
But an eternal now does always last. 

Those who censure such expressions on such a topic, 
with such evidence before them, have either a bad head, 
or have thought very superficially on the subject. 

7- An anonymous correspondent in the 590th paper 
in the Spectator, among many useful and some incorreet 
things on eternity, has the following excellent reflec- 
tions : — 

" In the first revelation which God makes of his own 
Being, he entitles himself, ' I am that I am ;' and when 
Moses desires to know what name he will give him in 
his embassy to Pharaoh, he bids him say that, 'I AM hath 
sent you.' Our great Creator, by this revelation of him- 
self, does in a manner exclude everything else from 
a real existence, and distinguishes himself from his 
creatures, as the only Being which truly and really 

The ancient Platonic notion which was drawn from 
speculations of eternity, wonderfully agrees with this reve- 
lation which God hath made of himself. "There is no- 
thing," say they, "which in reality exists, whose existence, 
as we call it, is pieced up of past, of present, and to come. 
Such a flitting and successive existence is rather a shadow 
of existence, and something which is like it, than exist- 


ence itself. He only properly exists, whose existence is 
entirely present ; that is, in other words, he who exists 
in the most perfect manner, and in such a manner as we 
have no idea of. 

" How shall we sufficiently prostrate ourselves and fall 
down before our Maker, when we consider that ineffable 
goodness and wisdom which contrived this existence for 
finite natures ? What must be the overflowings of that 
good will which prompted our Creator to adapt existence 
to Beings in whom it is not necessary ? Especially when 
we consider that he himself was before in the complete 
possession of existence, and of happiness, and in the full 
enjoyment of eternity. What man can think of him- 
self as called out, and separated from nothing, of his 
being made a conscious, a reasonable, and a happy crea- 
ture ; in short of being taken in as a sharer of existence, 
a kind of partner in eternity, without being swallowed 
up in wonder, in praise, and adoration ? It indeed is a 
thought too big for the mind of man, and rather to be 
entertained in the secrecy of devotion, and in the silence 
of the soul, than to be expressed by words. The Supreme 
Being has not given us powers or faculties sufficient to 
extol and magnify such unutterable goodness. 

" It is, however, some comfort to us, that we shall be 
always doing what we shall never be able to do, and that 
a work which cannot be finished, will nevertheless be 
the work of an eternity." 

In the passage from the prophet just quoted, there is a 
depth of thought, and a dignity of expression, worthy to 
be farther considered. The celebrated Longinus, a Greek 
grammarian, who was born at Athens, and who flourished 
about A. D. 270, wrote a very valuable tract, which still 
remains, entitled, Ilepi "Y^o«e, "concerning the Sublime ;" 
and among several instances of the true sublime in com- 

402 st. Paul's metaphysics; 

position, quotes Moses, as giving a fine instance of it 
in tne beginning of his law. His words are these. 

Taurij (cat b Ttov lovdaimv 9iapo0oTt)Q (ovx o rv%v>v avtjp) 
nriiSrj tijv tov Qtiov dvva.jj.iv Kara ti\v a&iav f^wpjjirf, Ka|£0ij- 
vtv, cvOvg tv tt\ £kt/3oXj) ypaipaj twv vofioiv EIITEN O 0EOS, 
0ij<», n; TENESOQ *QSj Kai lyiviro- TENESeQ TH, Kai 
tyiviro. "So likewise, the Jewish lawgiver (no ordinary 
man) having conceived a just notion of the Divine power, 
he expressed it in a dignified manner : for at the begin- 
ning of his laws, he thus speaks, God said — What ? 
Let there be light ! and there was light ; Let there be 
earth ! and there was earth." Long. Sect, ix., edit. 

The merit of just conception, and dignified expression 
cannot be denied to this .saying, even by those who deny 
the inspiration of the author. But Longinus only quotes 
from memory or hearsay, for the words, as they stand in 
his work, are not found in any Greek copy : he never 
saw the Hebrew, and evidently quotes, and that badly 
from the Septuagint. The words, as they stand in that 
ancient Version, are, Ev apxn e-n-oiqatv 6 Btog tov ovpav 
ov Kai rrjv yt)V /cat uirtv b Btog ytvrjQriTO <pa>C, (cat lytvtro iptog. 
" In the beginning God made the heaven and the earth : 
and God said, Let there be light ; and light was." The 
other clause, yeveoOw yi/, sat tyevtro, " Let earth be, and 
it was," he has added ; for this clause, as it stands here, 
is not found either in the Septuagint or the Hebrew. 

But had Longinus been acquainted with the Hebrew 
Scriptures, or even generally with the Septuagint, he 
would have found more impressive examples of the true 
sublime than that which he has quoted. I need only 
refer to the text in Isai. lvii. 25, which I have lately 
quoted, " Thus saith Jehovah, the high and the lofty, 
inhabiting eternity." 

% A. DISCOURSE ON ROM. I. 20. 403 

Beyond this, no conception can reach, no conjecture 
tvonder : illimitability and eternity absorb the soul ; 
reason is struck dumb ; and the power of thinking is 
overwhelmed by the infinitude of untried being, and the 
incomprehensibility of all that can be termed endless 
place, space, or vacuity. In all this Jehovah dwells ; he 
inhabits the whole. In this all measurement is lost ; all 
heighth, depth, length, and breadth — all affections of 
matter, all time and space are swallowed up. God alone, 
the infinite, the incomprehensible Jehovah, the eternal 
Spirit who only hath immortality, who dwelleth in un- 
approachable and insufferable light, filleth all in all ! O 
Thou, who dwellest between the cherubim, to show that 
thou art accessible to men, though the heavens and the 
heaven of heavens cannot contain thee, shine forth in 
thy redeeming and sanctifying power ! Let thy name 
be made known throughout the earth, and thy saving 
health to all nations ! And let the writer and his readers, 
through all the extent of their generations, know Thee ; 
love, worship, and serve thee, the only wise God, Father, 
Son, and Holy Spirit, and be joined to and be one with 
thee, and see thee as thou art, 

For E-V-E-It! Amen. 

Thus have I endeavoured to show that, the invisible 
things of him from the creation of the world are clearly 
seen, being understood by the things that are made, even 
his eternal power and Godhead : so that men in all dis- 
pensations and in all nations of the world, whether Jews, 
Christians, or Gentiles, who did not know, love, and 
serve him, are without excuse. So God hath spoken ; 
he is in his holy temple ; let all the earth be silent before 
him ! 

Fiat Justitia ! Ruat Ccelum ! 




Prop. VII. Lest the reasoning that was necessary to 
introduce and establish the preceding arguments in fa- 
Tour of the existence of God, should be difficult to 
common readers, and thus the discourse become unpro- 
fitable, I shall now abridge and condense the whole, and 
bring the subject to the level of the meanest capacity. 

I. We know of no earthly being, man excepted, who 
is capable so to view and consider the things which sur- 
round him, that, by duly comparing one with another, 
and by a just method of arguing, or reasoning from effects 
to their causes, he can at last easily arrive to or make a 
discovery of a First Cause, the great Author and Maker 
of all things, who by us is called God. 

1 . And as the whole frame and order of things which 
we behold is what we call nature, so that act of the 
mind whereby we consider and compare things according 
to their various natures and relations, and deduce from 
them the existence of a God, is what we call reason. 
And the arguments and motives which are afforded us, 
from the view and prospect of nature in her several 
parts, and whereby we are induced and inclined to give 
our assent to the doctrine of the being of a God, is what 
we call the light of nature. 

2. And before we can reckon six, eight, or ten years 
from our birth, we are able in some degree to exert this 
noble faculty of reason, and make some progress in the 
important discovery already mentioned, viz., the exist- 
ence and moral qualities of God. And this faculty of 
reason, as we grow in years, becomes more strong and 
perfect ; and works in the unbiassed mind with native 
force, and such powerful and clear proof as we can nei- 


ther deny nor withstand. And thus, as the apostle has 
stated in the text, what is necessary to be known of God 
(or, indeed, can be known of him by us), is manifest in 
the works of creation; "even his eternal power and 
Godhead is clearly seen, being understood by the things 
that are made." So that all persons capable of reason 
are without excuse, who do not really acknowledge the 
being and perfections of God. 

3. Nor is there any part of nature within our view 
(nor any place where there is not such a view of nature) 
which does not loudly call upon us to receive and con- 
fess this great and divine truth ; for " the heavens de- 
clare the glory of God ;" and the rich furniture of the 
visible lieavens — the sun, the moon, and the stars, show 
themselves to be his " handy work. Day unto day ut- 
tereth speech, and night unto night showeth knowledge." 
There is no nation on the face of the whole earth 
" where their voice is not heard ;" for that voice " is 
gone through all the earth ; and their words to the end 
of the world." See Ps. xix. 1 — 3. 

4. Hence we are naturally led to survey and make a 
proper distinction and arrangement of what are called 
the works of nature : we see that all things consist of 
matter, which is in general manifest to our senses ; and 
we are most agreeably surprised with a wonderful and 
infinite variety of forms, conditions, and qualities of 
natural substances. Some parts of matter we observe to 
be without motion, sense, or life, as stones and earth. 
Others we see are endued with a power of growing and 
extending themselves into various forms and sizes, as 
herbs and trees ; which, therefore, have innate motion, 
and may, in some sense, be said to live, or have life, 
though in the lowest degree. The next class of beings 
which present themselves to our knowledge is, in a 
degree, much superior to the foregoing, the subjects of 


406 st. Paul's metaphysics; 

which are all endued with native motion, life in the 
most perfect degree, and the quality of sensation ; that 
is, they are capable of hearing, seeing, tasting, smelling, 
and feeling all those objects which come within the 
reach of any of those five senses. These creatures are 
therefore called animals, because they have the faculty 
of life, or are endowed with a living soul. And of all 
animals, man is the head and ruler, on account of the 
far more perfect and excellent faculties and powers of 
his mind ; and especially that of reason, by which he is 
distinguished from, and set above and over, all the other 
creation, as king and lord of all ; and from thence he is 
called a rational animal ; though reason, in various de- 
grees, may be very justly allowed to other animals, who, 
on many occasions, give convincing proofs that they pos- 
sess certain degrees of it. 

5. But man alone is capable of using his reason to 
the noblest purposes, viz. : the finding out the being and 
perfections of God, his Providence, and the certainty 
of a future state after death. For he can thus reason or 
argue : — Everything that is, or exists, receives its being 
either from itself, or some other principle or cause ; but 
nothing can be the cause of itself; for that implies, that 
while it is not, it is capable of acting, or producing its 
own being, which is evidently absurd ; therefore it must 
receive its being from without itself, or from some other 
cause different from itself; and this first cause we name 
God. And this reasoning holds good of all the kinds of 
beings yet observed, and even of man himself, the chief 
of all ; for nothing is more certain, than that the power 
of giving or retaining life, either in himself or any other 
creature, is not in man, and consequently in no other 
being but God himself. 

6. But, more particularly, the being of a God is evi- 
dent from the bare consideration .of the properties of 


matter; for matter, it is plain, is of itself incapable of 
motion or rest, but is entirely listless, and indifferent to 
both. But since all the animal creation is endowed with 
the power to move or rest at pleasure, it is evident that 
this faculty is not from matter itself, of which alone all 
things consist; therefore it must be from some other 
principle or cause, viz., from God. 

7- Again, if that motion and rest in animals which is 
at their will be not of themselves, much less can that 
motion which is performed in animals without their mill, 
I may add (without their knowledge), be first from 
themselves ; as the pulsation of the heart, the inspiration 
and expiration in the lungs, the circulation of the blood, 
and other fluids of the body, which all move during the 
period of animal life, from one incessant cause ; which, 
since it is not subject to the will and power of the 
animal, must necessarily be from the general and first 
Cause of all things, God. 

8. This is most certainly evident from the absolute 
and constant motions of the heavenly bodies, which ever 
keep turning round one common centre, in orbits nearly 
circular. For since these bodies, viz., the planets, are 
only huge masses of mere matter, they are not of them- 
selves capable of any motion at all ; therefore they were 
first set in motion by some first mover, which is able to 
communicate that power to matter • which is God only, 
as has already been proved. 

9. But this is still more obvious, from the manner of 
their motion, which is circular ; for when matter is put 
into motion, it naturally proceeds in a direct or right 
course, that is, straightforwards, and not in a crooked or 
circular course or orb, as the planets all do. Now the 
air is not of that density in those regions, as to impede 
the rapid course of such great bodies, and turn them 
from a direct to a curve or circular motion ; but since it 

408 st. paul's metaphysics; 

cannoj; proceed from the air, it must be the result of 
some cause in those bodies themselves ; and that is what 
is called gravity, whereby they tend to their common 
centre of motion from a right course ; yet so adjusted, 
with respect to the force of the first or direct motion, 
that together they form the circular course ; and so nei- 
ther fly orF in right lines to infinite distances, nor fall at 
once to the centre, and there lose all motion. Now all 
this most admirable power and contrivance plainly points 
to that great Author, of whose fingers the heavens are 
the work ; and the moon and stars, of his ordination. 

10. From the consideration of final causes flow a 
thousand arguments, to prove the existence of God. By 

final causes I mean the ends for which things are evi- 
dently made, or which they are intended to answer. 
Thus, when we consider that light was created to render 
things visible ; the eye made on purpose to behold them ; 
when we consider the air as a means to convey sounds 
and scents, and that the ear and the nose were made and 
contrived on purpose to hear and smell them : — that in 
the body there are nerves, which convey the ideas re- 
ceived by those outward organs of sense to the brain, 
which seems to be the seat of the mind in animals, to 
be there used for the service and at the discretion of the 
creature, in the several occasions of life. I say, when 
we consider such a wonderful apparatus of means, ap- 
pointed so evidently to answer such a series of proper 
and necessary ends, it forces our assent to the doctrine 
of a Deity, who alone can be supposed capable of per- 
forming such wonderful things. 

11. Again, from a due and nice examination of all 
the larger parts of the creation, such as the globe of the 
earth on which we live, the great variety of produce in 
animals, plants, and minerals ; the exact contrivance of 
animal bodies, to suit them for the medium in which 


they live; — man, and the larger beasts, for land; fish, 
for swimming in the water ; fowls, for flying in the air ; 
the endless species of creatures, for the dark abodes 
within the caverns of the earth ; the rich and beautiful 
variety of herbs, for the pasturage of the beasts, and 
service of man, with all the mineral tribes in the bowels 
of the earth ; the great and useful variety of mountains, 
valleys, rivers, springs, &c, with which its surface is 
diversified. As they all jointly serve the use and neces- 
sities of mankind, so they all call most emphatically 
upon us to acknowledge and adore the divine Author, 
for displaying and expending so much of his boundless 
power and providence in our behalf! In like manner, 
that wondrous atmosphere which surrounds the earth, 
serving to generate winds, rain, and reflection of light, 
&c, absolutely necessary to the state of men and beasts ; 
also the whole frame and structure of the heavens : the 
sun, which rules the day, and the moon and stars, which 
rule the night ; will unavoidably induce us to confess, 
that it is God who hath "laid the foundations of the 
earth," and that " the heavens are the work of his 

12. Another, and not the least argument for the being 
of a God, is taken from the manifest consent of all 
nations, with whom reason and morality have appeared 
in any degree; and whose barbarity has not reduced 
them to the level of brutes. That which results from 
the will, humour, or mere opinion of men, is never the 
same among all people, as this notion of the being of 
God is; it is always mutable; whereas this is always 
and everywhere the same. All the world contend about 
matters of opinion, but all jointly agree in and endeavour 
to establish this point. With respect to articles of faith, 
among Jews, Mohammedans, and Pagans, as well as 
among Christians, scarcely any one has remained uncon- 

410 st. patjl's metaphysics; 

tested but this. This stands first, and is the same among 
all nations ; and it has often been seen, that although a 
very great body of people may maintain an erroneous 
point of doctrine, yet such is sooner or later detected, 
and confuted to the satisfaction of all reasonable parties ; 
a fate to which this sacred doctrine has never been sub- 
jected. Now whence should this universal persuasion 
concerning a Deity arise ? I may answer, not only from 
the cogent, sacred oracles of nature ; for on this subject 
every part of nature is vocal ; even the most contemptible 
animal has been said to " thunder in our ears the tre- 
mendous name of its Maker." But this is not all : there 
is the sense of Deity — that inward impression of his 
being and excellencies, which God has stamped on 
every human soul. This is a strong and irresistible ar- 
gument, as we have seen in the preceding discourse. It 
is impossible, therefore, that all should not know, and 
universally confess, that there is a supreme and infinite 
Being, full of all divine perfections; who "has made 
the heavens and the earth, and all things therein ;" and 
that he has given to all life, breath, and all things ; and 
that " he has made of one blood all nations of men to 
dwell on the face of the earth ;" and that therefore " in 
him we live, move, and have our being." 

II. The objection, That several individuals have de- 
nied and argued against this most sacred truth, is of no 
force. For, 1. Take those persons, all together, in all 
ages, and they will be found to be very few ; and their 
impious opinion must be considered of no weight against 
the avowed judgment and consent of all nations. 2. It 
is possible, that this was not the real sentiment of their 
minds, and language of their conscience; though they 
might, for several reasons, dare in words to profess that 
they believed in no God ; nothing being more common 
in the affairs of religion, than for some men to profess 


■what they do not really and seriously believe in their 
minds. 3. Several who have once been so unhappy as 
to fall into this deplorable supposition, have afterwards, 
on conviction, renounced it with abhorrence, and have 
been astonished at their former ignorance. 4. There 
are some people who make no scruple of denying the 
evidence of all the senses of the body, when they con- 
tradict their declared tenets, and these by whole nations 
together ; no wonder, then, that here and there an indi- 
vidual may be found, who should refuse to hearken to 
the internal senses of the mind. For all nations believe 
that bread is not flesh — that animals have sense of pain 
and pleasure ; that some things are certain and true, as 
well as that they all believe that there is a God ; and 
yet they have all been denied, as well as this. 5. If 
any have been really of this opinion, they must neces- 
sarily have been devoid of reason ; for right reason dic- 
tates the contrary ; so that it is a just remark of the 
Psalmist, that it is the fool who hath said in his heart, 
" There is no God ;" for, as one said of old, " None but 
a fool could say so." 

From the preceding arguments, in the discourse and 
the summary, I hope I may say, that it is most evidently 
proved that there is a God ; and not only that, but we 
may from thence, and by the same method of reasoning, 
plainly discover and infer most of his attributes and 
perfections, which should render him to us, his creatures, 
an awful and adorable Object; and. to such the apostle 
evidently refers in the text. We have already seen, 
that God is a necessarily self-existent and eternal Being ; 
that the Godhead is but one ; that he is a Being un- 
changeable and independent; that he is a Being most 
simple, uniform, indivisible, and incorruptible; that he 
is omnipotent and omniscient ; that he is a pure Spirit, 
without body, parts, or passions ; that he acts freely, and 


412 ST. PAULS metaphysics; 

as he pleases, without necessity; and, lastly, that he 
must necessarily be a Being of infinite goodness, mercy, 
justice, and truth, together with all other moral perfec- 
tions, such as become the supreme Ruler and Judge of 
the world. 

III. The Providence of God is most rationally in- 
ferred, from his being proved to be the Author or Maker 
of the world, and all that it contains. For not only 
man, as being endowed with understanding and wisdom, 
but even birds, beasts, insects, and all creatures having 
life and sense, we constantly observe to have a special 
care, regard, and tenderness of their offspring ; and as it 
is a part of natural goodness, can we on any account 
suppose the same carefulness and providential regard to 
the works of his hands, wanting in that great Being, 
whom we grant to be possessed of' infinite goodness, 
mercy, and benevolence? But this is directly proved 
from several observations on the works of nature, as the 
motions of the heavenly bodies, contrary to the proper 
laws of nature, &c, to answer a general end. Where- 
fore we must conclude, that the same God who has 
created all things, and upholds and preserves them by 
his continual energy, does also, by his all-wise provi- 
dence, constantly govern and direct the issues and events 
of things ; takes care of this lower world, and of all, 
even the smallest things in it ; disposes things in a re- 
gular order and succession, in every age, from the begin- 
ning of the world to its final period ; but inspects with 
a most particular regard, the moral actions of men. 

IV A future state of rewards and punishments may 
be concluded, also, by the strength and light of reason. 
For, 1. The nature of man is such, that he acts freely, 
of choice, and unconstrained ; and has a law imprinted 
in his mind, which directs him to do that which is fit 
and requisite from the nature of things. If he act 


agreeably to this law of right reason, it is reputed virtue ; 
if contrary to it, it is called vice. It is allowed on all 
hands, that virtue, considered in reference to law, merits 
reward, and vice, punishment. Yet these rewards and 
punishments, it is plain, are not equally distributed in 
this life ; and since they are from God, to whom alone 
man can be accountable for his moral actions, and he is 
infinitely just : it follows, that there must be another 
and future state, in which virtue and vice must receive 
a perfect and equitable distribution of rewards and pu- 
nishments, proportionable to the several degrees of merit 
and demerit. 2. From the natural inclination and desire 
of immortality, and an unavoidable concern for what is 
to come hereafter, implanted in all men ; we may very 
probably conclude a future state. 3. The dignity and 
excellence of human nature plainly show, that man is 
designed and intended for a better and more worthy 
state of life, than the best he can enjoy in the present 
world. 4. The natural self-consciousness and judgment 
which all men secretly make of their own actions, in 
their own minds, is by all allowed to be no small proof 
of a future state of account. 5. It has been the con- 
fessed judgment and opinion of almost the whole heathen 
world, and has obtained as universally, both as to time 
and place, nearly as the notion of a God itself; and 
therefore must be the result of rational reflection, or an 
impression on the mind by God himself, and must be 
deemed a certainty. 

V Having established a firm and rational belief of a 
Deity, his providence, and government of the world, the 
immortality of the soul, and a future state, were man 
pure from evil passions and sinful dispositions, there 
must necessarily ensue the practice op piety; or an 
effectual sense of the obligations we are under to love, 
fear, serve, praise, pray unto, and adore the sacred name 

414 st. Paul's metaphysics. 

and glorious majesty of God. And when the passions 
are rectified, and the image of God, lost by sin, retraced 
upon the soul, we shall be induced, from the above con- 
siderations, to trust in, to rely and depend upon him ; to 
exercise patience and hope in all times of affliction and 
adversity ; and to walk humbly in all times of prospe- 
rity and happiness ; to have always a due and solemn 
regard to the rectitude of all our actions; and to be 
always in a proper state of resignation, both of ourselves 
and our possessions, to the sovereign disposal and good 
pleasure of God ; who, though he be the Most High, 
and has dominion over all, yet " he is righteous in all 
his ways, and his tender mercies are over all his works." 
Vide Martin's Philol. Lib. p. 1, &c. ; and the different 
discourses in these vols., on the Being and Attributes of 
God ; and particularly the sermon on " God's Love to a 
Lost World ;" and that on " Salvation by Faith, or, An- 
swer to the Question, What must I do^o be saved ?" 



Psalms zl. 16, 17. 

16. "Let all that seek thee be glad and rejoice in thee: Let 
such as love thy salvation say continually, The Lord be magnified ! 

17. " But I am poor and needy, yet the Lord thinketh upon me. 
Thou art my help and my Deliverer : make no tarrying, my 

It has been shown in the preceding discourse, that 
the general consent of all nations, that there is, exists, 
and must be such a Being as we term God, is a strong 
proof of the doctrine itself. It seems to be an intuitive 
truth ; every man's mind is impressed by it : all nations 
of the earth, however remote from each other, and how- 
soever unconnected, and totally unknown to each other, 
have the same persuasion ; a persuasion which none of 
them has ever been induced to cast off, or even call its 
truth or correctness into question. 

The same may be said of happiness ; though misery 
in general prevails, yet the universal pursuit of happi- 
ness shows that all men not only believe that there is 
such a thing, or a state in which it may be found, but 
also earnestly seek it as a thing attainable. The hope 


of it scarcely ever leaves the human breast, and can only 
he repressed by what is called absolute despair, which is 
never found but in an insane mind. It is true, that on 
the thing itself, and the means of attaining it, there have 
been, and still exist, various opinions ; and the divided 
minds of men on this subject give birth to the variety of 
•their pursuits ; but the thing is still thought to be some- 
where and somehow to be attained or found. The in- 
quiry after happiness would be much shortened, did we 
inow in what it consists. But the question on this 
subject is treated by most, even of those who ask it, as 
the Roman proconsul treated his own, who, having 
asked, What is truth? immediately went off, without 
waiting for a reply ; probably supposing that none satis- 
factory could be given. Those who tell us that " happi- 
ness is seated in the mind," tell us, it is true, where it 
exists when attained, but they do not tell us what it is ; 
nor where we may find it. For the happiness of another 
is not mine; and though happiness may exist in his 
mind, it does not show me that I can find mine there. 
No man has it to give to another, for none has been 
able to give it to himself. Who has ever ventured to 
say, " I can make myself happy ;" or, " My own happi- 
ness is always within my reach." «A11 say, had I such 
and such things, I should be happy; but they speak 
thus in reference to matters that either do not exist, or 
are unattainable : thus they mock their own wishes. 

It is strange that all should seek what they know not ; 
that there should be a universal hunger and thirst after 
this unknown thing, this undefinable something, which 
is as eagerly. sought as if its nature were perfectly known, 
and the place of its habitation exactly ascertained. But 
this only shows that it is a thing which all wish for, 
because all want it ; and this at once gives us a proper 
idea of the thing. It is that without which none can 

A DISCOURSE OX PSALM XL. 16, 1 /• 417 

be contented, none satisfied; and consequently that 
which satisfies the mind, and contents all the desires of 
the heart. Hence, happiness is contentment or satisfac- 
tion ; and to be contented or satisfied is to be happy. 

But leaving this for a short time, let us go to another 
point, which will ultimately give us all the light we 
need. There is such a thing as true religion ; — religion, 
that has for its object the true God, and is the medium 
of intercourse between him and his true worshippers. 
Now as every man believes that there is a God, so they 
must believe that he should be acknowledged and wor- 
shipped. Hence all nations not only believe that there 
is a God, but have certain rites by which they worship 
him : and all think, that those which they use are the 
best and most worthy of the Being whom they address. 
But these rites are various throughout the earth ; and in 
multitudes of cases, flat contradictions. They cannot, 
therefore, all be pleasing to the Supreme Being. He 
who is the Maker, Preserver, and Guardian of men can- 
not be pleased with human sacrifices ; and yet by many 
people such have been offered to him ; and their religion 
prescribed such offerings ! 

We may ask, then, as we did about happiness, Where 
is this true religion to be found ? That by which man 
may be profited, and the Deity pleased ? That by which 
man derives from his Maker all that he needs, and gives 
to his Maker all that he requires ? When we find this, 
we shall immediately see where true happiness is to be 
found, and in what it consists. The system of truth is 
that alone which can teach it, and the system of truth 
must come from the true God ; for he is the way, the 
truth, and the life. He teaches man what he was, what 
he is, what he was designed for, and how he may attain 
the object of his wishes. 

It is well known, that men have invented many sys- 

418 true happiness; 

terns of religion, all professing to be true ; but as true 
religion can be but one, because truth is one, not many ; 
and the object of worship not many, but one God; 
hence each system professes to be true; and, conse- 
quently, that all others are false. 

But truth must be derived from its fountain ; and the 
true religion must be derived from Him who is its 
object. God alone can tell man what is pleasing to 
himself; and what he requires his intelligent offspring 
to know, to believe, and to do. Hence true religion must 
be a revelation from God himself, its Object. 

The necessity of this all framers of systems of religion 
have seen; and hence they have all professed to have 
been received from heaven. Numa Pompilius professed 
to have received his politico-religious system from the 
goddess Egeria ; Zoroaster, his from the god Ormuzd ; 
Menu, his from Brama; the Cingalese, theirs from 
Budhoo; Mohammed, his from the supreme God, by 
the ministry of the angel Gabriel ; Moses, his from Je- 
hovah, sometimes by the ministry of angels, and fre- 
quently by oracular declarations from God himself: and 
the Christians profess to receive theirs from the same 
source, by Jesus the Christ. Among the whole, only 
the two last have demonstrably the truth by immediate 
Divine Inspiration : this is contained in the Scriptures of 
the Old and New Testaments; and these have stood 
every test, and have the fullest evidence of Divine au- 
thority. I am not called at present to prove this point. 

As man is a creature of God, under a law to God, 
and accountable to him in all things, it is necessary that 
he should be well instructed in everything that concerns 
his being and his state ; and this is provided for, in the 
revelation that God has given him : for the true religion 
teaches not only whatever concerns God and his attri- 
butes, but also what concerns man himself, in reference 

A. DISCOURSE ON PSALM XL. 16, 17- 419 

to other states and to other beings. It teaches the im- 
mortality of the soul, the resurrection of the body, a 
future state of existence, and that state, one of rewards 
and punishments ; and shows the present to be a state 
of probation, or preparation for the future. This state, 
therefore, is distinguished by promises to be fulfilled 
here, and by hopes in reference to the future. 

The true religion is particularly distinguished by the 
abundance of its promises, of exceeding great and pre- 
cious promises, not only of protection and support, but 
also of spiritual blessings of the most important and 
excellent nature — promises of communion with God; 
of the indwelling of his Spirit ; of his redemption from 
the power, guilt, and inward pollution of all sin ; so that 
man shall have unutterable peace, joy, and happiness, 
the very thing which he seeks after, and for which he 
pines. False religions deal sparingly in promises, espe- 
cially in reference to this life, for they have no authority 
to say, " Credit this, and go to God in prayer, and he 
will immediately fulfil the promise to you; and you 
shall know thereby the proof of his being, arid the truth 
of his word." It is true that false religions have their 
promises, but they are promises for the future, promises 
of the most splendid kind ; and as to the present, they 
pledge themselves to nothing ; they only intimate, in 
general, God will protect true believers, and give them 
prosperity ; but in reference to a future state, they point 
out a paradise of the most tempting enjoyments — where 
every sensual appetite shall be gratified to the utmost 
degree by its object, its exciting energy, and without 
ever enervating the power of the excited propensity — 
endless gratifications, with unlimited powers of being 
gratified. Such are the joys promised by heathenism in 
the pagan paradise ! 

In sum, it may be safely asserted, that the Bible most 

420 true happiness; 

certainly possesses the fairest right to be. considered as a 
revelation from God. It points out the nature and per- 
fections of the Supreme Being in such a manner as has 
never been done by any system of religion or philosophy. 
It shows the nature of the divine government of the 
world ; points out clearly a future state ; the rewards 
and punishments which the righteous and the ungodly 
may expect ; exhibits the most direct promises relative 
to present good and salvation, addressed to each of our 
senses as well as to our reason. We are called to look 
unto him, that we may be saved ; to hear, and our soul 
shall live ; to feel after him who is not far from any one 
of us, as in him we live, move, and have our being ; to 
taste and see that God is good, &c. ; all these different 
organs of sense, referring to certain mental powers, 
which have spiritual perceptions very aptly illustrated 
by those bodily organs above mentioned ; and in this 
book God pledges himself to the fulfilment of all the 
promises he has made, whether they refer to this or the 
future life. 

In the fulfilment of those promises, happiness is 
found ; for as the soul was made for God, and is capable 
of the deepest communion with God, as he has made 
it a composition, as one calls it, of infinite desires, and 
gave it himself to gratify the whole ; then as proceeding 
from the hand of its Creator, the soul was satisfied with 
"his fulness ; eveiy desire and wish was met by the rays 
of glory and goodness, which were communicated from 
his perfections ; so every desire and wish was satisfied ; 
the pain of desiring and wishing could have no place, 
and thorough happiness was the result. Happiness is 
content ; he that is not content, is not happy ; he has all 
that heart can wish, who is in union with that God who 
is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that man 
can ask or think, according to the power that worketh 


in him. The promises state that through the sacrificial 
death of Jesus Christ, all sin shall be pardoned to the 
true penitent ; all mental defilement removed from the 
soul of the genuine believer ; and the Spirit of God shall 
be the constant inhabitant of the faithful heart, witness- 
ing to all its possessors, that they are the sons and 
daughters of the God and Father of all ; have Christ in 
them the hope of glory ; bearing now the image of the 
heavenly Adam, as they had borne before the image of 
the earthly Adam ; and feeling themselves in this state 
of salvation, they are truly unutterably happy ; and thus 
the religion of the Bible is proved to them to be the 
true revelation of the true God. This is the religion 
that the Psalmist teaches in the above verses ; points out 
the happiness it communicates, and shows how this 
happiness is to be acquired. 

After these general observations, I shall inquire from 
the words of the text, — 

I. What this happiness is ? 

"We have already seen that it implies contentment or 
satisfaction of mind. Some of our lexicographers de- 
fine content, " Moderate happiness ; or such satisfaction 
as, though it does not fill up desire, appeases complaint." 
The first part of this definition is correct, moderate hap- 
piness ; for what is not moderate is extravagant, and this 
is contrary to that equanimity which is essential to 
happiness. What is beyond this, in the way of joyous 
excitement, is ecstasy, not happiness ; and by it the even 
tenour of the soul is disturbed. I use content in refer- 
ence to the mind, as expressing that which fills it with 
what it has desired, and what is suited to the spiritual 
nature of the soul. The soul has a vast capacity, and 
that capacity is filled up, so that it contains what is suited 
to its nature, and to its desires ; and as God alone can 
fill the desires of the soul, and by filling it casts out 

422 true happiness; 

everything that can make it uneasy, hence the soul is 
satisfied, is made happy, because it has now full con- 
tentment in being filled with God, its all-sufficient 
portion. Mr. Locke has taken a proper view of this 
subject, " A man," says he, " is perfectly content with 
the state he is in, when he is perfectly without any 
uneasiness." Hence his assertion, "who is content is 
happy" He is satisfied, is filled full, has enough, for he 
has his God ; and thus David, in another place, " I 
shall be satisfied when I awake with thy likeness ;" Ps. 
xvii. 15. 

In the text, happiness implies the salvation of God, and 
is expressed by the terms gladness, rejoicing in God, 
loving his salvation, and magnifying the author of it, 
ver. 16. 

1. " Let all those who seek thee rejoice," riw yasisu, 
"they shall be cheerful and sprightly." This is their 
general state, their constant feeling. They rejoice, they 
feel joy, and every reflection on God's goodness to them 
excites this feeling afresh; therefore they re-joke, they 
have joy after joy, and joy upon joy. This is the import 
of this Anglicized French word, rejouir," an iteration of 
happy feeling." 

2. " Let them be glad," maw yismechu, " their hearts 
shall leap with joy." They shall exult in thee. This 
second word expresses a higher state of happiness than 
the first. Cheerfulness and sprightliness may point out 
the general tenour of the mind ; rejoicing (our word) may 
signify the comfortable feeling that is excited on parti- 
cular occasions, by visits from the Divine Spirit ; or the 
manifestation of his kindness, by either ordinary or ex- 
traordinary blessings, whether spiritual or temporal. 
But irrau» yismechu may be understood as expressing a 
settled state of happiness, where all is calm, and joy, and 
peace ; or what the poet expresses, as the work of true 


religion, when it fills the heart, ruling and regulating all 
its tempers, affections, and desires : — 

" Sweet peace she brings wherever she arrives ; 
And builds our quiet, as she forms our lives ; 
Lays the rough paths of peevish nature even, 
And opens in our breasts a present heaven." 

3. But there is another idea included in the last word, 
viz., that of exulting or glorying, which usually compre- 
hends the blessedness of the state in which they live, the 
abundance of the source from which their happiness 
springs, and the matchless and unrivalled excellence of 
him from which all is derived. There is a fine form of 
such exultation in Deut. xxxiv. 26 — 29: — 

There is none like unto the God of Jeshurun, 
Who rideth upon the heaven in thy help, 
And in his excellency on the sky. 
The eternal God is thy refuge ; 
And underneath the everlasting arms ; 
And he shall thrust out the enemy from before thee, 
And shall say, Destroy them. 
Israel then shall dwell in safety alone ; 
The fountain of Jacob on a land of corn and wine. 
Also his heavens shall drop down dew. 
Happy art thou, O Israel ! who is like unto thee ? 
O people, saved by the Lord, the sword of thine excel- 
Thine enemies shall be found liars unto thee. 
Also thou shalt tread upon their high places ! 

Such is the God of Israel : and such is the Israel of the 
Lord. Of this sort of exultation we have another 
affecting form furnished by St. Paul, Rom. viii. 35, 37, 
38, 39 : " Who shall separate us from the love of Christ ? 
shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, 
or nakedness, or peril, or sword ? Nay, in all things we 
are more than conquerors through him that loved us. 


For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor 
angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, 
nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any 
other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love 
of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." 

4. Of such happy people it is said, '■ They love thy 
salvation." The salvation of God is his deliverance 
or redemption communicated to his followers, usually 
comprised in the three following things : 1. Salvation 
or deliverance from all the power of all sin. 2. From 
all the guilt of all sin. 3. From the whole in-being 
or pollution of all sin. This they experience, and 
this they love. Many love their sins, embrace, and 
hold them fast ; and ihey cannot bear that doctrine 
which states that they may be thus saved. They 
exclaim, Impossible ! and because they assume this im- 
possibility of a full salvation ; hence they have an ex- 
cuse for an easily overcoming sin, because they have, as 
their creed says, an unavoidable, easily-besetting sin. 
Such people, however thankful they may affect to be for 
God's mercy, seldom, if ever, give thanks to God at the 
remembrance of his holiness. They hate the doctrine, 
and they oppose, persecute, and malign its abettors. 
How such will stand when God appeareth is not difficult 
to foretell. There are, however, many sincere and upright 
souls, who disbelieve the doctrine because they have been 
taught to do so ; and therefore are feeble in the way ; 
others who walk in the light, are carried with the tide of 
God's love into the fulness of Christ; they have the 
thing, but call it by another name : none of these come 
under any censure expressed in this discourse. Christ 
dwells in their heart by faith. This is enough. 

II. How is this happiness to be attained ? 
1. By seeking the Lord. 

A DISCOURSE OX PSALM XL. 16, \~ . 425 

It is worthy of remark, that in these two verses the 
Psalmist adores and prays to the great object of his 
worship under those three names which are most essen- 
tial to him, as the fountain of being and perfection ; and 
as the friend, supporter, and saviour of man, rrn- Yeho- 
tah, «3ik Adonai, and t<~x Eloah or d-Vhk Elohhn. We 
must consider these names, that we may see the more 
plainly who it was that the Psalmist sought, of whom 
he spake so highly, and from whom he expected so 

1. Jehovah. This word has been generally understood 
as expressing the eternity and self-existence of the 
•Supreme Being. The Being who had no beginning of 
days, and will have no end of time. Infinitely self- 
sufficient, needing nothing, because infinite in the perfec- 
tions of his nature. The Being who, speaking according 
to time and its admeasurements, was, is, and will be. 
The sacred lanjniage considers him as an infinite intelli- 
gent Existence, or The Ever-existing. The Septuagint 
explains it well, Eyw tifii 'o Qv, "I am he who exists;" 
and the Vulgate pretty nearly the same, Ego sum, qui sum, 
'• I am, who am." And what more can we make of this 
Being than what is here expressed, " I am the eternal 
one — I am ever existing." The idea which the mind 
receives here is that of omnipresent continual existence, 
and properly inhabits that eternity to which the attri- 
butes of time can never apply. In his plenitude God 
ever is in his eternity, all-wise, all-powerful, all-holy, all- 
benevolent, all-just, all-merciful. See much on this subject 
in the sermon on Rom. i. 20. This Being the Psalmist 
addressed for that salvation and happiness which he 
needed. He went to the fountain for the water of sal- 
vation. He could go no higher; nothing lower could 
avail. He wished to be filled -with the fulness of God, 
that is, Jehovah ! 


2. He seeks him as 'iix Adonai or Adoni. This word, 
with'the rabbins and Jews in general, is the substitute 
for the word nw Yehovak, which they never pronounce ; 
for, whenever in reading the latter occurs, they use the 
former in its place. And they not only read the one in 
place of the other, but they have often wrote >3-ix Adonai 
in the text, where nw Yehovah existed before, as is evi- 
dent from numerous MSS., in which nw Yehovah lias 
been changed into -jin Adonai. 

The root ntt adan, or ai dan, has four significations : 
1. To prop up, support, or sustain, as the foundation does 
the superstructure ; 2. To rule ; 3. To direct ; 4. To 
judge. Applied to God, it points him out, 1. As the 
basis, or foundation, on which the whole of creation 
rests ; exactly expressed by the apostle, "He who sustains 
all things by the word of his power." 2. As the supreme 
omnipotent Governor of heaven and earth ; who, as he 
sustains, so he rules universal nature, animate and in- 
animate; angels, men, and spirits of all kinds and classes, 
being subject unto him. 3. He also is the director of all 
those beings ; gives the proper tendencies to all portions of 
matter, and regulates all the laws of nature. Rules and 
directs all the heavenly bodies in all then- motions and 
revolutions, simple or mixed ; giving an economy to all, 
and ever directing and managing the whole. 4. He also 
is the Judge ; all law, and the principles of right govern- 
ment proceed from him. He is the Judge of angels and 
men ; and to him as the maker, sustainer, governor, and 
director, all beings are accountable. These offices belong 
to himself as sovereign. As Creator and Lord, and 
supporter of all things, he has a right to rule. As di- 
rector, he has a right to point out the way in which his 
intelligent creatures should walk ; the work they should 
perform ; the time, place, and spirit in which it should 
be done ; and then, as Judge, to determine how their 


different duties have been discharged ; and to award the 
rewards and punishments which, as lawgiver, he has 
prescribed in his laws. But as prop, supporter, and stay, 
he is particularly endeared to poor, weak, feeble man, in 
the trials, temptations, and adversities of life. 

3. The Psalmist seeks pin- Yehovak, <3i!< Adonai, as h?k 
Eloah or dt-k Elohim. This name has been considered 
by some good critics, and learned men, as that by which 
the Divine Being is more particularly connected with 
human beings, and is as much as to say, God in cove- 
nant with man, — he who has undertaken to redeem man ; 
and the root, bw al or el, has been interpreted as express- 
ing to interpose, intervene, mediate, or to come between 
for protection ; and nbx alah, another root, which has 
been adduced as that from which the word dti'tk Elohim 
comes, signifies to adjure, to bind by oath, as parties do 
in making a covenant, mutually binding themselves to 
fulfil its conditions. And as the noun wrhti is in the 
plural form, it has been supposed to express the Holy 
Trinity; and that this name is assumed by the most 
sacred three persons, as signifying their representing 
themselves as under the obligation of an oath to perform 
certain conditions, and as having denounced a curse upon 
all men and devils who do not conform to these terms. 
"What those terms or conditions are," says pious Mr. 
Parkhurst, "to which the et^n Aleim sware, seems evi- 
dent from Psalm ex., namely, that the man Christ Jesus, 
in consequence of his humiliation and sufferings (ver. 7, 
compare Phil. ii. 6 — 10), should be exalted to the right 
hand of God, till all his enemies were made his footstool 
(compare 1 Cor. xv. 25), that the rod of his strength 
(his Gospel) should be sent out of Zion; and that by 
this he should rule even in the midst of his enemies ; 
that his people (true Christians) should offer themselves 
willingly in the ornaments of holiness ; and that those 



which should be begotten by him to a resurrection from 
sin here, and death hereafter, should be more numerous 
than the drops of morning dew (compare Isai. xxvi. 19). 
All this I take to be briefly comprehended, or summed 
up, in that oath of Jehovah to Christ, ver. 4. Thou art 
a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek, which, 
by interpretation, is King of Righteousness ; Heb. vii. 2. 
As a priest, Christ, through the eternal Spirit, offered 
himself without spot to God ; Heb. viii. 3, xi. 14. As 
a priest for ever, he is able to save them to the uttermost 
(margin, evermore) that come unto God by him, seeing 
he ever liveth to make intercession for them ; as, being 
after the order of Melchizedek, he is king as well as 
priest ; king of righteousness, and king of peace ; Heb. 
vii. 2." See more in Parkhurst, sub voce nVx. Perhaps 
the idea of worship, reverence, and adoration, is that 
which the original root was designed more particularly 
to express. Hence avhx Elohim, the most worshipful, 
most adorable Being ; he to whom all worship and re- 
verence are due. And this may be what the Psalmist 
wishes especially to express here, " Make no tarrying, 
my God !" Thou art the only object of my worship, of my 
adoration and reverence ; the only one that can deliver 
from every evil, and save to the uttermost. This was 
an intelligent prayer ; every expression was deeply con- 
sidered, and to the grand object of all adoration and 
confidence, every thought, desire, and purpose was di- 
rected. Jehovah, Adonai, Elohim, is he alone who can 
save. By salvation, or deliverance from all sin, true 
happiness comes ; and thus the Psalmist seeks it, know- 
ing that God alone is the true and adequate portion of 
all immortal spirits. 

III. We may now consider the state of him who is 
destitute of the salvation and happiness already described. 


This state is expressed here hy the following words : 
But I am poor and needy, jv^nt ( 3j> »jni va ani ani ve- 
ebion. There is something plaintive in the very sound 
of the words. They are the accents of sorrow : " but I 
am afflicted and impoverished." The words will bear 
the following paraphrase : " My affliction is stroke upon 
stroke ; I am the subject of repeated calamities ; I am 
reduced to utter want, and am obliged, as a mendicant, 
to solicit for the mere necessaries of life ; I am as dis- 
tressed in my body and mind as I am utterly destitute 
of all means of support." By these images the spiritual 
state of him who has not found true happiness, is de- 
scribed. The soul is afflicted ; it is still under the in- 
fluence of sin, the only true and dangerous disease of the 
human spirit ; but in one thing the plaintif in the text 
differs from many others, who are as dangerously diseased 
as himself; he knows that he is thus diseased ; the light 
of God's Spirit has shone into his soul, so that he sees 
his own love, and feels the plague of his own heart. 
How many are sick unto death through the disease of 
sin, and yet think themselves to be sound and well! 
Their minds are darkened, so that they do not see their 
ruined state ; and their hearts are hardened, so that they 
do not feel it. Not so the person in the text ; he is poor 
and afflicted, and he sees and feels both, and deeply 
deplores them. Poor, for he has not the true riches ; 
afflicted, the disease of sin is destroying his life ; and 
what makes his state the more deplorable is, that there 
is no one that thinks upon him ; no one that can help 
him. For who can blot out his sin? Who can heal 
his spiritual disease ? This is a case in which even a 
brother cannot give a ransom for the soul of his own 
brother. He is a debtor to God's justice in endless mil- 
lions, and has nothing to pay. He is like the man who 
has neither bread nor money, nor means to acquire any ; 

t 2 

430 true happiness; 

nor is there friend or neighbour to whom he can apply 
for help ! He is depressed, and humbled to the dust, so 
the word is often applied ; he is needy — his eye affects 
his heart ; he is a beggar — he earnestly requests assist- 
ance ; what he needs must come from above, and earn- 
estly he applies to God, for the blessings he needs. He 
comes to the fountain of mercy for the streams of grace. 
He comes to him who never suffered a son of Jacob to 
seek his face in vain ; he wrestles for salvation, and he 
contends as for life. 

IV We may now inquire what reception he meets 
with ? This must needs be a favourable reception, from 
the persuasion he had that God, in his infinite kindness, 
was disposed to treat him mercifully. " The Lord 
thinketh upon me," -b 3imt inx Adonai yachasab li. Adonai 
— my prop, my stay, the supporter of my body and soul, 
ponders my case for me, meditates upon me, watches for 
my safety, and for the best opportunity in which he can 
display his mercy so as to magnify it, and give me the 
most effectual and permanent relief. 

The word nun chashab, which we translate thinks, has 
all the significations mentioned above. It signifies also 
to embroider, in which operation, as effected by the 
needle, the utmost care is taken to represent the same 
figure on both sides of the cloth ; therefore, the operator 
is obliged to turn the cloth every time the needle is 
inserted, in order to see that the stitch answers equally 
on both sides. This gives us the idea of great skill and 
attention, for no embroidery can be made in a careless 
manner. God is working on the heart of the penitent 
in the text, and he is conscious of this working. " Thou, 
Lord, thinkest upon me ;" my state, my trials, my mental 
exercises, my deep necessities, are ever before thee ; and 
thy all-seeing eye affects thy heart, as my enlightened 


eye now affects mine. Thy pity is excited ; thou hast 
caused me to hope in thy word. Thou hast given me to 
feel my need of thy salvation, and the desire I have to 
be saved comes from thyself. Surely, then, thou wilt 
grant me the desire of my heart, which appears to be so 
much the desire of thine own. 

To know that we are objects of attention to God, that 
he thinks, meditates upon us, ascertains what we need, 
and comes forward with the supply, — what a source of 
confidence ! Who can doubt his loving-kindness, his 
tender mercy, and his willingness to save under such 
considerations as these ! He delights to save the soul 
because it is his own, and has been purchased by his 
Son's blood. 

V He comes to his God by faith, and his faith is in 
strong exercise. He has not yet obtained the salvation 
for which he is concerned, but he believes that it is 
attainable ; he sees the source from which it springs : it 
is in God, it comes from God, and to God he goes in 
order to get it. He feels his weakness, and looks to 
God as his strength ; he feels his bondage, and looks 
to God as his deliverer. " Thou art my help and my 
deliverer," -abam "mil? ezeratl umephalliti. The first word, 
i:v ezer, signifies not only help or assistance in general, 
but an active and energetic help, one that is ever at 
hand, because ever necessary. Such a kind of help or 
assistance as God designed woman to be to man, when 
Adam was created ; and God said, " It is not good for 
man to be alone," therefore he made him, rma -uy ezer ke- 
negedo, a constant and efficient help, to be ever with him, 
or right over against him ; constantly at hand, and con- 
stantly in view ; within reach, and within sight. Such a 
help is the Omnipresent and Almighty God to mankind. 
In him we live and move, and in and through him we 

432 true happiness; 

have our being. His presence, acting energetically, sup- 
ports all things ; by this do all things subsist ; effects 
cannot subsist without, or independent of, their causes ; 
every part of creation depends upon God ; he made all, 
he supports all. This is the general view which the 
Psalmist's faith takes of the Divine Being ; a view which 
particularly respects his providence, both general and 
particular. God made all things, governs all things, 
sustains all things. By him the grass grows for the 
cattle ; and by him, corn for the service of man. 

But he looks for a gracious deliverance, salvation from 
sin ; and hence he says, " Thou art my Deliverer, "a'jso 
mephalliti." This word, in its root a^a phalat, signifies to 
escape, to be snatched away from danger of any kind ; 
death, sin, or perdition : — God not only delivers us from 
danger by his strong hand; for "when the adversary 
comes in as a flood, the Spirit of the Lord lifts up a 
standard against him ;" but he also causes us to escape ; 
he shows us our danger, points out its approach, and 
warns us to flee. In the first case, our strength would 
avail nothing ; in the second case, we have power, which 
we are to use. In overwhelming troubles and tempta- 
tions, and where the well-circumstanced sin (wTrtpiorarov 
afiapnav) brings forth all its might, and the roaring lion 
expects immediately to devour, God sends forth his 
mighty arm, and delivers the prey out of the teeth of 
the destroyer. In common cases, he apprises us of our 
danger, and lays out a way for our escape : we look at 
the danger, see the opening, shake ourselves from the 
dust, use the power we have got, call upon God for 
more, and fight and run, while we are continuing in 
prayer. To be delivered, or snatched from danger, and 
to escape from danger, are two different things, and are 
from different operations of the same Spirit. All who 
are taught of God know those things. Extraordinary 


assistance from God is necessary in extraordinary cases ; 
ordinary help in ordinary circumstances. In the one, 
he delivers us by almighty, energetic power; in the 
other, he helps us to help ourselves : in both cases, 
without him we can do nothing. These two cases are 
well expressed by the poet in the following lines : — 

" I every hour in jeopardy stand, 

But thou art my power, and holdest my hand ; 

While yet I am calling, thy succour I feel, 

It saves me from falling, or plucks me from hell." 

Thus God delivers, and thus he causes us to escape. 

Those who are most in earnest with God for deliver- 
ance from all sin are those against whom Satan has the 
greatest wrath. He knows that the strongest hold he 
can have of any man is by means of indwelling sin. 
There are multitudes of professors, between whom and 
him there are no feuds ; he will give them little disturb- 
ance, if they permit him to keep his seat quietly. He 
bates inward holiness ; and when they hate it also, both 
can walk together, because they are agreed. There are 
many who as earnestly contend for the necessity and 
(0 horrendum dictu !) for the utility of indwelling sin, as 
there are who contend for the faith once delivered to 
the saints. Salvation with them is more a change of 
opinion than a change of heart. They cannot bear to 
hear of a complete deliverance from all sin in this life : 
they do not pray for it ; they do not look for it ; they do 
not believe it. And according to their belief it is unto 
them ; they still continue under the power of their un- 
holy tempers, and wrath and bitterness are generally the 
foremost. In what a multitude of churches is Christi- 
anity found in a state of nonage ! Who are consistently 
praying, -' Cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the in- 
spiration of thy Holy Spirit, that we may perfectly love 


thee, and worthily magnify thy name" ? But how many 
are fooking to Death for the same blessing, as if the 
inspiration of his carrion breath could effect the mighty 
change ! This is no misrepresentation : death is fre- 
quently invoked to come and deliver them out of their 
troubles; and it is only when he separates body and 
soul that they expect deliverance from all indwelling 
sin. If they employed as much time in faith and prayer 
to God for the destruction of the whole body of sin and 
death, as they have done in arguing for its continuance, 
and in abusing those who believed and proclaimed a full 
and present salvation from all sin, they would long ere 
this have had a better set of tempers, a more holy heart, 
and a greater degree of true happiness than they now 
experience. But, alas for us! we will not come unto 
Christ that we may have life, — that life which he pur- 
chased by his death. 

VI. Let us now consider the importunity of the man 
who is fully awakened to a sense of his fallen state, and 
the necessity of being brought into the salvation of God, 
in order to be made truly happy. Thus he concludes 
that prayer, in which every power of his soul was en- 
gaged : " Make no tarrying, my God !" -irarrbK vhtt 
Elohai altakar, " My God ! delay not." The word inx 
achar signifies to put off, to postpone, to leave a thing 
to the last, or latest time. This sort of conduct is com- 
mon with men. What is called, whiling away time, 
leaving things to the last, not doing what the hand 
findeth to do, not taking time by the forelock ; for 

" All promise is poor dilatory man." 

Here he pleads with his Maker : Lord, be not to me 
as men are, both to themselves and to each other ; refer- 
ring everything to the future ; and as that future is in- 
determinate, it is no time, and what is referred to it is 


ever to be done, and never performed. I have no 
promise of the future ; I am unsaved ; I am dying ; if 
I die in my sins, where thou art I shall never come ; 1 
stand on the verge of eternity ; I am going into a state 
that is unchangeable in itself, and admits no change in 
reference to its inhabitants ; what is there unholy must 
be unholy still ; thou hast not assured me that I shall 
live another hour, — 

" A point of time, a moment's space, 
Removes me to that heavenly place, 
Or shuts me up in hell ! " 

Therefore, now, to-day, while it is called to-day, — 

" Bare tbv arm, and give the blow : 
Root out and kill the accursed seed ! 

O avenge me of mv foe, 
And bruise the serpent's head ! " 

The promises of God, relative to the salvation of the 
soul, are all made for the present ; for God has given no 
man a promise of surviving even the present hour ; 
therefore it is his will that we should expect their fulfil- 
ment in the present moment. In this moment, redemp- 
tion from the power, guilt, and pollution of all sin is 
necessary, in order that we may be able to love God 
with all our hearts ; and, in our life and conversation, 
worthily magnify his name. It is necessary now, that 
we may be now prepared to meet our God. And il 
God wills our happiness now, he wills now that we 
should be saved from all our sins. It is for the honour 
of God's justice and mercy — for the honour of the sacri- 
ficial passion and death of Christ — for the honour of the 
efficacy of the Eternal Spirit, that the devil should be 
conquered, all guilt pardoned, and the polluted heart 
cleansed from all unrighteousness. When this is done, 
the soul being freed from all evil propensities, all turbu- 



lent^passions rectified, and the love of God shed abroad 
in the heart by the Holy Spirit, then, and not till then, 
shall the soul of man feel that happiness for which it 
was created. Satan is cast out, and Christ dwells in the 
heart by faith. The man knows he is of God, by the 
spirit which he has given him. He rejoices in Christ 
Jesus, and has no confidence in the flesh. He has con- 
stant union with God; begins, continues, and ends 
every work to his glory, and carries about with him a 
clear testimony of the approbation of his Maker. His 
heart is not afraid of any evil terror, but is fixed ; his 
wanderings are at an end, for he has found that which 
he sought — Happiness. He is contented — he is satis- 
fied : every wish and every desire rests in God. He 
cannot wander, because he has not one desire unsatisfied. 
He has no excitement to look farther, as God meets 
every wish, and satisfies every desire. He has the Su- 
preme Good, and with it he rests supremely contented. 
His great business now is to natch unto prayer — to 
hold fast what he has received; to put forth all the 
energies of his renewed powers in the work of faith, 
the patience of hope, and the labour of love. He may 
daily grow in grace, because the grace he has received 
expands and enlarges his mental powers. The soul 
grows in capacity, and the grace grows according to the 
increasing powers. And it is by this continual growth, 
that what he has already received is preserved. He 
perseveres, because he grows in grace ; he grows in grace, 
because he is faithful to and uses the grace which he 
has received. He is a branch in the true Vine. While 
he abides in it, he partakes of the sap of the stock in 
which he grows ; but if he abides not in it, if he cease 
to watch unto prayer, if he hold not fast faith and a 
good conscience, if he be not diligent in business and 
fervent in spirit, serving the Lord, he will soon become 


a withered branch, and shall be cut off; and, with others 
of a similar kind, be gathered, bundled up, and burned. 
If he admit the supposition, that he has attained a state 
from which he cannot fall, he in that moment begins to 
backslide, and his fall is at no great distance. Angels 
kept not their first estate : — Adam lost his Paradise, for 
he believed Satan, who told him that he could not fall. 
Let him that most assuredly standeth take heed lest he 
fall. This is a state of probation. Here, if the fallen 
may be raised up, here also the fine gold may become 
dim. Every believer in Christ should assume the motto, 
believe, love, obey. Acting thus, he is safe : nothing 
then can separate him from the love of God in Christ : 
neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor 
powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor 
height, nor depth, nor any other creature. His moun- 
tain stands strong, and he stands strongly on it. He is 
filled with light and life : the glory of the Lord is risen 
upon him, but on all that glory there must be a defence. 
Let him stand fast in the liberty wherewith Christ hath 
made him free : let him know, let him ever feel, that 
without Christ he can do nothing. Amen. 

VII. Considering all that God has done to make men 
wise, holy, useful, and happy, it is right that all those 
who love his salvation should be exhorted to say conti- 
nually, " Let the Lord be magnified." mrr- biy -ran nw 
yomeru tamid yigdal Yehovah. They should say conti- 
nually, " Let Jehovah become great and illustrious." 

The original word Vra gadal signifies not only to make 
great, whether in quantity or quality; but, applied to 
God, it also signifies to declare, set forth, and proclaim 
the majesty and excellence of the Deity ; to honour and 
make him glorious ; to exalt, by enumerating the gracious 
and glorious acts of the Most High ; to give him his 
true character, as to his power, justice, mercy, faithful- 

438 true happiness; 

ness, goodness, &c. ; so that sinners may fear and tremble 
before him; penitents confide in him; and believers 
may love and obey him. In a word, so to set forth, 
illustrate, and recommend the high, mighty, and gracious 
God, that all may be led to praise him for the good he 
has already done ; the good he is now doing ; and for 
the good that he has promised to do. 

God is not sufficiently known. Some dread him with- 
out reason ; some presume on his goodness, without au- 
thority ; and others fear to trust in, or expect mercy 
from him, because he is so holy, and they are so sinful : 
He, too holy to show mercy ; they, too worthless to ex- 
pect any. All these take false views of God. The jus- 
tice of God is not against the poor, humbled, heart-broken 
penitent; but against the profligate and the daring of- 
fender. The mercy of God is not offered to these, who 
are rebels against him, but to those who fear his name, 
and tremble at his word. The portion of the righteous 
is not for the wicked : the lot of the wicked is not that of 
the just. The children's bread must not be given to the 
dogs ; but the members of the household should crowd 
the Blaster's table. To all, it may be said, on the au- 
thority of God, ye righteous, it shall be well with you ; 
for ye shall eat the fruit of your doings. Woe unto you, 
ye wicked, for it shall be ill with you, for the reward of 
your hands shall be given you. 

But the exhortation in the text, is to them that are 
saved ; who can rejoice in Christ Jesus, and who have 
no confidence in the flesh. They can magnify the Lord, 
and speak good of his name. They should openly and 
boldly declare, that Jesus, by the grace of God, has tasted 
death for every man ; that he receiveth sinners, — for he 
came to seek and save that which is lost; that he is 
ever waiting to be gracious ; and that he willeth not the 
death of a sinner : that all may now return and live • 


that the bowels of his mercy move especially to every 
penitent ; that he is now ready to blot out all their of- 
fences ; that all such may confidently cast themselves on 
his mercy ; that the blood of Christ will purge their con- 
sciences from dead works, and they should be assured, 
that, on their coming to God through Christ, the Holy 
Spirit is ready to witness with their spirits that they 
are the sons and daughters of the Lord Almighty. Thus, 
God is magnified before sinners who reject his mercy, 
and penitents who implore it. But the persons in the 
text who are filled with the fulness of God, are called to 
magnify the Lord, in showing particularly, that the 
" blood of Christ cleanseth from all unrighteousness," — 
that Jesus saveth to the uttermost, — that as he has freely 
justified the ungodly, so will he fully sanctify the un- 
holy, — that he will save believers from all sin in this 
life ; yea now, for now is the day of this salvation. To 
them that are sorrowfully saying, " Lord, if thou wilt, 
thou canst make me clean," he can with sovereign au- 
thority reply, " I will, be thou cleansed !" and immedi- 
ately their leprosy shall depart. He has all power in 
the heavens and the earth. He came into the world to 
save men from their sins ; and every moment he stands 
ready to cleanse every believing soul from all unright- 
eousness, and fill it with his fulness ; yea, to make it a 
habitation of God through the Spirit : to work in, and 
reign over it ; influencing every power and faculty, 
creating all things new, and stamping the whole with 
the true, holy, and righteous image of the invisible God. 
It is their duty especially to declare these things — to 
do this continually, -ran tamid; making it their daily 
work : a work which is never to be discontinued. The 
zeal of God in every genuine preacher of the gospel, in 
reference to these mighty acts of God, and the testimony 
that he should bear to them, should be like the holy 


fire on the altar, always -ran tamid, burning, and never 
go oift. Thus, God is magnified when his whole truth 
is proclaimed. Both his justice and mercy are magnified, 
in the proclamation, that Jesus Christ died for all men ; 
that his blood was shed for the whole human race ; that 
the ransom price is paid down for every human soul ; 
and that all may be saved. His power and holiness are 
magnified, when full redemption in his blood is pro- 
claimed ; and that he stands ever as ready to purify from 
all unrighteousness, as to justify from all ungodliness. 
Hallelujah ! Save now, O Lord, we beseech thee ! 
Lord, send now prosperity ! 

" His only rightebusness I show, 

His saving truth proclaim : 
'Tis all my business here below, 

To cry, ' Behold the Lamb !' 

" Happy, if with my latest breath, 

I may but gasp his name ; 
Preach him to all, and cry in death, 

Behold, behold the Lamb !" 

Hat/don Hall, Nov. 16, 1330. 



Habakkuk ii. 14, and Isaiah xi. 9. 

Kai tiirtfv avroiQ, 7roptv9ivTts «f tov KOfffiov airavTa, KtpvK- 
art to ivayytXiov naur) ry ktiou' 6 TTiBTtvaaQ Kat jiwKTiaQii^, 
awBr)<JiTcu' o ct aTTirTTTjcrac KaraKpi0jj<T£rat. 

" For the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory 
of the Lord as the waters cover the sea." 

From the nature and perfections of God it may be most 
conclusively argued that, having made all human beings 
of the same blood, wheresoever scattered over the face 
of the earth, and all human spirits of the same nature, 
he must have designed them for the same kind of happi- 
ness ; not preferring any family or individual to another, 
as he had made all equal, and could have no reason for 
any predilections, for his own nature is too pure and per- 
fect to admit of any capricious feelings or propensities. 

Much less could he have designed, that any individual, 
family, or nation of men should be miserable, while all 
the rest of the same genus should be happy. As to the 
geographical, political, and social differences that arose 
after the Fall, they were either such as did not necessa- 
rily tend to prevent, in reference to any, the happiness 
which the Creator designed for the whole ; or those dif- 
ferences arose out of that Fall, from the indulgence of 
those sinful propensities which were then acquired ; of 


from $ie operations of a wise providence, which was 
often employed in counterworking men's pernicious de- 
signs ; and thus God restrained or corrected moral evil, 
by the natural evil which it had produced. In conse- 
quence, peoples and nations became objects of the divine 
displeasure or kindness, according as they were vicious 
or virtuous ; i. e., according as they had used or abused 
that preventing grace, or measure of light and power 
which God gives to every man ; and the quantum of the 
pleasure or displeasure of the Creator was ever propor- 
tioned to the different degrees of righteousness or y\ icked- 
ness found in their conduct. But in every case, God 
was fully seen to hate the evil and to love the good. 
His judgments were not poured out on the righteous, and 
his complacential regards ever placed upon the wicked. 
"With the various workings of his providence, in managing 
the affairs of men, we are not at present concerned. Be- 
cause mercy rejoices over judgment, he causes his sun 
to shine upon the evil and the good, and sends his rain 
upon the just and unjust. 

The original impartial feeling was manifested in all 
his plans for the redemption and amelioration of the 
moral state of the human race. " He so loved the world 
that he gave his only-begotten son, that they who be- 
lieve on him should not perish, but have everlasting life : 
and he was made a little lower than the angels, that by 
the grace of God, he might taste death for every man." 
And that all men might be equally benefited by the 
wonderful incarnation of this glorious Being, he com- 
manded that the system of truth that contained those 
glad tidings, should be proclaimed throughout the world, 
and men be called to believe on him who was incar- 
nated, suffered, died, and rose again from the dead for 
them ; with the positive promise that they who should 
conscientiously receive the doctrine, and believe on him, 


should be saved : be made happy and holy in this world, 
and glorious eternally in that which is to come. 

That it was the design of the great Creator to bless all 
men by his light and truth, and cause the Christian reli- 
gion to become the religion of the ten-aqueous globe, is 
evident enough from his own declarations, in the revela- 
tion he has made of his own will ; of his counsels and 
designs, in which he has declared, that he willeth not 
the death of a sinner, but on the contrary, wills that all 
should come to the knowledge of the truth and be saved. 
To prove the truth of this, we have, 1. Prophecy. 2. 
Precepts. 3. Testimony. 

I. Prophecy. When sin entered into the world, the 
ruin which would be diffused throughout the whole hu- 
man mass, was not only foreseen, but a remedy was pro- 
vided. The poison and the antidote are particularly 
referred to in this prophetic declaration, "I will put 
enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy 
seed and her seed : it shall bruise thy head, and thou 
shalt bruise his heel." Gen. iii. 15. The serpent had de- 
ceived the woman, the woman deluded the man, both 
man and woman transgressed the divine commandment, 
sinned against God and their own souls, and thus brought 
death into the world and all our woe. Sin, the nature of 
Satan, is represented here under the notion of a poison 
by which the whole human stock is infected : the poison 
gliding down through all the ramifications of that stock, 
and diffusing itself by natural generation through all 
the families of man : bruising the heel, putting all the 
posterities of the first human pair to pain and wretched- 
ness. On the other hand, we see the provided antidote 
and remedy : the seed of the woman, the Son born of a 
virgin, suffering, dying, rising from the dead, and show- 
ing that, by the grace of God, he was to taste death for 
every man. His influence was communicated by his 


own Spirit, to the souls of men, to enlighten them and 
quicken them, and thus implant in them an antagonist 
power to the dark and seductive nature of sin ; for he 
was that true light that was to illuminate every man that 
cometh into the world, John i. 9 : and it was by this 
preternaturally restored influence that man has had from 
the beginning, light to discern sin, power to resist it, 
and grace to lay hold on the hope set before him in the 
gospel of Christ. Now, to this seed of the woman, this 
divine person born of the virgin, this suffering, dying, 
rising, and reigning Saviour, all prophecy from Adam to 
the incarnation bore testimony, that he was to taste and 
did taste death for every man, and that all who believe 
on his name should receive remission of sins. But let 
us follow this general prophecy down the stream ot 

In the seed of Abraham, through his son Isaac, all the 
nations of the earth were to be blessed : Thus saith the 
Lord to Abraham, " I will make of thee a great nation, 
and I will bless thee and make thy name great: and 
thou shalt be a blessing : And I will bless them that 
bless thee : and in thee shall all families of the earth be 
blessed." See Gen. xii. 2, 3. 

This prophecy is repeated more circumstantially to 
Abraham, when he had offered his son Isaac to God 
" By myself have I sworn, saith the Lord — in blessing 1 
will bless thee; and in multiplying will multiply th) 
seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand whicl 
is upon the sea-shore; and thy seed shall possess the 
gate of his enemies, and in thy seed shall all the nations 
of the earth be blessed." Gen. xxii. 16, 17, 18. 

This same promise is repeated to his son Isaac aboul 
sixty-eight years afterwards ; and though a little abridged 
yet, with a remarkable difference, " sojourn in this land 
(Gerar in the land" of the Philistines) and I will be witl 


thee, and will bless thee : for unto thee, and unto thy 
seed, I will give all these countries ; and I will perform 
the oath which I sware unto Abraham thy father : and 
I will make thy seed to multiply as the stars of heaven ; 
and I will give unto thy seed all these countries ; and in 
thy seed shall the nations of the earth be blessed." Gen. 
xxvi. 3, 4. In the first prophecy, the blessing is pro- 
mised to all the families of the earth. In the second, to 
all the nations of the earth — in the third to all those coun- 
tries, Gerar, and other parts of Arabia, &c. where Isaac 
then sojourned, Gal. i. 17, Acts ii. 10, 11, and the whole 
land of Judea, in which Jesus was manifested, and where 
the gospel of his kingdom was first preached ; and to all 
the nations of the earth, to Syria, the lesser Asia, Greece, 
Italy, the isles of the sea, to which the disciples, on 
their being persecuted by the Jews, went forth, they and 
their successors, till in a short time all the then accessi- 
ble parts of the globe were blessed with the joyful sound. 
Since their time, as new nations were discovered, by 
means of the extension of commerce, the gospel of our 
blessed Lord has been preached in those nations, and is 
now penetrating, and as it penetrates, blessing with civil- 
ization, liberty, useful arts and sciences, and with these, 
what is under God, the fountain of all good, the liberty 
of the gospel, and salvation from all sin ; and as the in- 
variable result of these, mental, social, and domestic 
happiness. Thus, all the nations, all the countries, all 
the families, and all the individuals of the earth are re- 
ceiving the universal blessing. And, that this gospel 
was not designed for the Jews exclusively, but for the 
Gentiles, who were the first in the divine purpose, in the 
original covenant made with Abraham, we learn from 
this, that the covenant was made with him and with his 
seed while he was yet in uncircumcision ; and to this 
purpose is the strong assertion of St. Paul, while pro- 


claiming the doctrine of justification by faith, Gal. iii. 
6—8. "Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to 
him for righteousness. They which are of faith, the 
same are the children of Abraham. And the Scripture 
foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through 
faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, In thee 
shall all nations be blessed." Now to Abraham and to 
his seed were the promises made, not merely to his sim- 
ple descendents, through Isaac, but says the apostle, 
" To thy seed which is Christ," Gal. iii. 16 ; and that 
very Christ who tasted death for every man, commanded 
his disciples to go into all the world and preach the gos- 
pel to every creature. Hence, it is evident that as Christ 
died for all men, so it is the will of God, that all men 
should be saved. 

In the current of prophecy, we see others to the same 
effect, but more specific. Thus Malachi i. 11 : " From 
the rising of the sun even unto the going down of the 
same, my name shall be great among the Gentiles ; ane 1 
in every place incense shall be offered to my name, anr 
a pure offering ; for my name shall be great among the 
heathen, saith the Lord of hosts." 

And likewise Joel ii. 28 — 32 : " And it shall come tc 
pass afterwards, that I will pour out my Spirit upon al 
flesh ; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy 
your old men shall dream dreams, and your young mei 
shall see visions. And also upon my servants and hand 
maids in those days, will I pour out my Spirit." — " Ane 
it shall come to pass that whosoever shall call upon thi 
name of the Lord shall be delivered." 

From the use made of these words by St. Peter, Act 
ii. 16—21, and by St. Paul, Rom. x. 13, it is plainb 
evident that the calling of the Gentiles into the pale o 
the Christian church was intended ; and not only a par 
of them, or some nations, but the whole of the nation 

A DISCOURSE O.N HAB. II. 14, ISAI. XI. 9. 447 

of the habitable globe. According to the opinion of the 
best commentators, the whole of Psalm lxxii., is to be 
understood in this way, and especially the following 
verses, which seem at first view to refer to Solomon ; but 
a much greater than Solomon is here. Ver. 8 : " He 
shall have a dominion from sea to sea, from the river 
unto the ends of the earth." Ver. 9 : u They that dwell 
in the wilderness shall bow before him." Ver. 10 : " The 
kings of Tarshish and of the isles shall bring presents : 
the kings of Sheba and Seba shall offer gifts." Ver. 11 : 
" Yea, all kings shall fall down before him : all nations 
shall serve him." Ver. 17 : "His name shall endure for 
ever : his name shall be continued as long as the sun : and. 
men shall be blessed in him; yea, all nations shall call him 
blessed." — See Ps. lxxxvi. 9. See also Amos ix. 11, 12 : 
"' In that day I will raise up the tabernacle of David 
that is fallen, and close up the breaches thereof; that 
the people may possess the remnant of Edom, and of all 
the heathen that are called by my name, saith the Lord, 
that doeth this." See this prophecy quoted at length by 
St James, Acts xv. 15 — 17, and evidently referred to 
the universal spread of the gospel, according to the 
primitive design of God. To this and the dark sinful 
state of the Gentiles, the prophet Isaiah refers, chap. ix. 
2 : " The people that walked in darkness have seen a 
great light ; they that dwell in the land of the shadow 
of death, upon them hath the light shined." See Matt, 
iv. 16 ; see also the whole of Isai. Ix., where this glorious 
event is clearly foretold. And Zech. ii. 11 : "And many 
nations shall be joined to the Lord in that day, and shall 
be my people." And ix. 10, 11 : "And he shall speak 
peace unto the heathen, and his dominion shall be from 
sea to sea," &c. 

The preaching of the apostles both to the Jews and to 
the Gentiles is beautifully pointed out in the following 



passages : " How beautiful upon the mountains are the 
feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth 
peace ; that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth 
salvation," Isai. lii. 7- " The Lord that made bare his 
holy arm in the eyes of all the nations, and all the ends 
of the earth shall see the salvation of our God," ver. 
10. " And I will have mercy upon her that hath not 
obtained mercy ; and I will say to them that were not 
my people, Thou art my people, and they shall say, 
Thou art my God,'"' Hosea ii. 23 ; see also Rom. ix. 25. 
And hear St. Paul stating that the preaching of the 
gospel both to Jews and Gentiles was in consequence ot 
the divine purpose, declared by the ancient prophets : 
" Now I say that Jesus Christ was a minister of the cir- 
cumcision, for the truth of God, to confirm the promises 
made unto the fathers ; and that the Gentiles might 
glorify God for his mercy, as it is written, "For this cause 
I will confess to thee among the Gentiles — rejoice all ye 
Gentiles with his people — praise the Lord all ye Gen- 
tiles, and laud him all ye people. — There shall be a root 
of Jelsse, and he that shall rise to reign over the Gen- 
tiles ; in him shall the Gentiles trust," Rom. xv. 8 — 12. 
The following portions may be adduced in corroboration 
of the very pointed prophecies above quoted. 

" All the ends of the world shall remember and turn 
unto the Lord, and all the kindreds of the nations shall 
worship before thee," Ps. xxii. 27. " All nations whom 
thou hast made shall come and worship before thee, 
Lord, and shall glorify thy name," Ps. lxxxvi. 9. " De- 
clare his glory among the heathen ; his wonders among 
all people. O worship the Lord in the beauty of holi- 
ness, fear before him all the earth. Say among the 
heathen, The Lord reigneth ; he shall judge the people 
righteously," Ps. xcvi. 3, 4, 9, 10. " The Lord gave the 
word, great was the company of those that published it ■" 


literally, of " those who preached the gospel," Ps. lxviii. 
11. "But in the last days shall it come to pass, that 
the mountain of the house of the Lord shall be esta- 
blished in the top of the mountains, and it shall be ex- 
alted above the hills ; and people shall flow unto it. 
And many nations shall come, and say, Come let us go 
up to the mountain of the Lord, and to the house of the 
God of Jacob ; and he will teach us of his ways, and 
we will walk in his paths : for the law shall go forth of 
Zion, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. And he 
shall judge among many people, and rebuke strongnations," 
Mic. iv. 1 — 3. In the prophet Isaiah we find the same 
prediction in nearly the same words, with some additions. 
" Come ye and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, 
to the house of the God of Jacob, and he will teach us 
of his ways, and we will walk in his paths. O house of 
Jacob, come ye and let us walk in the light of the Lord," 
Isai. ii. 2 — 5. " And this gospel of the kingdom shall 
be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations. 
And then shall the end be ;" that is, of the Jewish 
commonwealth. " And the gospel must first be pub- 
lished among all nations," Matt. xiii. 10. " Believe me 
that the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this moun- 
tain (Gerizim) nor in Jerusalem, worship the Father — 
but the hour cometh, and now is, when the true wor- 
shippers shall worship the Father in spirit and truth," 
John iv. 21, 23. 

Our Lord's observations relative to the woman's anoint- 
ing his feet, contain an indirect, and yet by inference a 
pointed, prophecy of the universal spread of the gospel. 
" Verily I say unto you, wheresoever this gospel shall be 
preached in the whole world, tv 6\u> r V ko^^, shall also 
this, that this woman hath done, be told for a memorial 
of her," Matt. xxvi. 13. The parallel text is equally 
strong : " Verily I say unto you, wheresoever this gospel 


shall be preached throughout the whole world, us 6Xov 
tov KOCT/iov, this also that she hath done shall be spoken 
of for a memorial of her," Mark xiv. 9. '•• 

Finally, our Lord's own testimony is decisive : " Then 
opened he their understanding that they might under- 
stand the Scriptures, and said unto them, Thus it is 
written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer (kch ovto>s 
cSu -KaQuv tov Xpiarov) and to rise from the dead the third 
day, and that repentance and remission of sins should be 
preached in his name among all nations, beginning at 
Jerusalem," Luke xxiv. 45 — 47. 

And when he had purposed to break up the Jewish 
pale by sending Paul to preach the gospel to the Gen- 
tiles, he shows his design by using the following words : 
" But the Lord said unto him (Ananias), Go thy way, for 
he (Saul) is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name 
before the Gentiles and kings, and the children of Israel," 
Acts ix. 15. And thus Ananias declared the counsel of 
God to Saul. "The God of our fathers hath chosen 
thee that thou-Shouldest know his will, and see that 
just one, and shouldest hear the words of his mouth ; 
for thou shalt be his witness unto all men, of what thou 
hast seen and heard," Acts xxii. 14, 15. And after 
Saul had opened his testimony at Jerusalem, and they 
rejected that testimony, he received his full commission 
from Christ himself : " He said unto me, Depart, for I 
will send thee far hence unto the Gentiles," Acts xxii. 
21. "Arise and stand upon thy feet; for I have 
appeared unto thee for this purpose, to make thee a 
minister and a witness both of these things which thou 
hast seen, and of those things in the which I will appear 
unto thee ; delivering thee from the people and from the 
Gentiles unto whom now I send thee, to open their eyes, 
to turn them from darkness unto light, and from the 
power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgive- 


iiess of sins, and inheritance among them that are sanc- 
tified, by faith that is in me," Acts xxvi. 16 — 18. 

Though Paul was especially the apostle of the uncir- 
cumcision, and Peter of the circumcision, yet this apostle 
took a very early step in this mission, after God by the 
vision of the clean and unclean beasts had broken down 
the middle wall of partition which had long separated 
the Jews and the Gentiles ; and even the Jews discerned 
this, when St. Peter had recounted the vision of the 
sheet let down from heaven, and heard how God had 
poured out his Holy Spirit on them of the uncircumcision, 
" for when they heard these things they held their peace 
(no longer doubted nor gainsayed), but glorified God, 
saying, Thus hath God also to the Gentiles granted 
repentance unto life," Acts xi. 18. 

Thus we have seen a partial unfolding of the great 
design as far as prophecy is concerned in predicting the 
divine purpose relative to the salvation of a lost world 
by Jesus Christ, and the freeness and fulness of the pro- 
vision thus made, and now we come to see the precepts 
which God gives to men relative to the publication of that 
gospel, and to their receiving, believing, and acting accord- 
ing to the holy commandment which he has delivered 
unto them. And as several of the preceding Scriptures 
have been produced to show that the original design of 
God was to make men happy, and that the Gentiles 
should be called to believe the gospel, that they and the 
Jews should become one fold under one Shepherd and 
Bishop of all souls, it will be necessary to refer again to 
some of those Scriptures which have been already cited 
as prophecies, to lend their assistance here as precepts, 
relative to the publication and reception of their gospel, 
as several of them contain both prophecy and precepts. 

VOL. Ill, v 

452 THE high commission; 

II. Precepts relative to the reception of the Gos- 
pel, &c. 

The declaration made by God to Moses, and by him 
to the children of Israel, is very proper to come at the 
head, and introduce all the others : " The Lord thy God 
will raise up unto thee a prophet from the midst of thee 
of thy brethren, like unto me, unto him shall ye hearken: 
and I will put my words in his mouth, and he shall 
speak unto them all that I shall command him. And it 
shall come to pass, that whosoever will not hearken unto 
my words which he shall speak in my name, I will re- 
quire it of him," Deut. xviii. 15, 18, 19. "And it shall 
come to pass that every soul that will not hear that pro- 
phet shall be destroyed from among the people," Acts 
iii. 22, 23. 

There is^another remarkable promise of the Messiah, 
connected with strong and persuasive precepts given by 
the prophet Isaiah : " And the Redeemer shall come to 
Zion, and unto them that turn from transgression in 
Jacob, saith the Lord. As for me, this is my covenant 
with them, saith the Lord : My spirit that is upon thee,, 
and my words which I have put in thy mouth, shall not 
depart out of thy mouth, nor out of the mouth of thy 
seed ; nor out of the mouth of thy seed's seed, saith the 
Lord, from henceforth and for ever," Isai. lix. 20, 21. 
SeeRoni. xi. 26, 27. 

And again : " Look unto me and be ye saved, all the 
ends of the earth ; for I am God, and there is none else. 
For I have sworn by myself, the word is gone out of my 
mouth in righteousness, and shall not return ; That unto 
me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear," 
Isai. xlv. 22, 23. 

The following words of the Psalmist are full to the 
point, and on this subject their testimony is of great im- 


portance. " I have set my king upon my holy hill of 
Zion ; I will declare the decree ; the Lord hath said 
unto me, Thou art my son, this day have I begotten thee. 
Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine 
inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy 
possession. Be wise now, therefore, ye kings ; be 
instructed, ye judges of the earth ; serve the Lord with 
fear, and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the son, lest he 
be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath 
is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put 
their trust in him," Ps. ii. 6 — 12. 


On the evidence of the prophecy of Moses, the Jews, 
because of their rejection of our blessed Lord, are cut 
off from among the people of God. They are no church ; 
they have no atoning priest, no sacrifice, and no king. 
Their state is the most deplorable. 

On the evidence of the strongest facts, the Redeemer 
(the ^i3 god or kinsman, he who was flesh of our flesh, 
and bone of our bone) is come to Zion, and has offered 
up his life for the transgressions of his people, the Jews ; 
but they would not turn from their transgressions in 
Jacob, and therefore continue still in their sins. But 
the Gentiles believed on him, and hence they were 
made partakers of his Spirit, and received of his doctrines, 
and they continue a flourishing, increasing church. He 
has poured out his Spirit upon them, the words that 
were in his mouth he has given to them, and hitherto 
they have not departed from them, nor from their seed's 
seed, and are likely to be their inheritance, and that of 
their spiritual posterity for ever. 

To these same Jews and their progeny, God, by David, 
has declared his decree ; Jesus is set on the holy hill of 
Zion; as king, offers instruction and reconciliation to 

u 2 



Jews and Gentiles. All may embrace Jesus and be re- 
conciled to God through him; but those who do not 
shall be dashed to pieces by the rod of his wrath, for 
they only who trust in him shall be blessed. 

That his disciples might have the fullest proof that all 
should hear his gospel, believe and be saved, he thus 
commands them : " Go into all the world, and preach 
the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is 
baptized shall be saved," Mark xvi. 15, 16. " Thus it is 
written, and thus it behoved the Christ to suffer, and to 
rise from the dead, and that repentance and remission of 
sins should be preached in his name among all nations," 
Luke xiv. 46, 47- " Go ye, therefore, and teach all na- 
tions, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of 
the Son, and of the Holy Ghost ; teaching them to ob- 
serve all things whatsoever I have commanded you ; and 
lo, I am with you always unto the end of the world," 
Matt, xxviii. 19, 20. 

That they might expect to be fully qualified for this 
great work, he renewed the commission after his resur- 
rection, with the most direct promise of the Holy Spirit. 
" Ye shall receive the power of the Holy Ghost coming 
upon you ; and ye shall be witnesses unto me, both in 
Jerusalem, and in Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the 
uttermost parts of the earth," Acts i. 8. 

For this promise they waited, and this they diligently 
sought by prayer and fasting : "As they ministered to the 
Lord and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, Separate me Bar- 
nabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called 
them ; and when they had fasted and prayed, and laid 
their hands on them, they sent them away; so they, 
being sent forth by the Holy Ghost, departed unto Se- 
leucia, from thence they sailed to Cyprus, Salamis, Pa- 
phos, Perga, Pamphylia, Antioch, Pisidia," &c, Acts 
xiii. 2 — 14, and at Pisidia they went into the synagogue 


on the sabbath-day, and preached to the Jews ; and in 
the course of a powerful and pathetic sermon, they said, 
"We declare unto you glad tidings, how that the promise 
which was made unto the fathers, God hath fulfilled 
the same unto us their children, in that he hath raised 
up Jesus again; be it known unto you, therefore, men 
and brethren, that through this man is preached unto 
you the forgiveness of sins ; and by him all that believe 
are justified from all things, from which ye could not be 
justified by the law of Moses," Acts xiii. 32—39. " But 
when the Jews saw the multitudes, they were filled with 
envy, and spoke against those things which were spoken 
by Paul ; contradicting and blaspheming. Then Paul 
and Barnabas waxed bold and said, It was necessary 
that the word of God should first have been spoken to 
you ; but seeing ye put it from you, and judge yourselves 
unworthy of everlasting life, lo, Ave turn to the Gentiles. 
For so hath the Lord commanded us, I have set thee to 
be a light of the Gentiles, that thou shouldest be for 
salvation to the ends of the earth." The Jews expelled 
them out of their coasts, but they shook off the dust of 
their feet against them. Acts xiii. 45, 46, 47, 50, 51. 
This hour was the most momentous in the whole Jewish 
history. They now finally rejected the Lord that bought 
them. They contradicted the truth, and blasphemed 
their God. The apostles feeling now that they had ful- 
filled the will of God with respect to the offer of the 
salvation of the gospel to them, they abandoned them, 
and gave themselves up to the Gentiles, Avho had long 
appeared to have been reprobates, and were considered 
and despised as such by the Jews, Avho had long been 
the elect of God ; but the Gentiles became noAV elected 
and adopted in the stead of the noAV reprobated JeAvs ; 
and so from that day to the present, no general offer of 
salvation bas been made to them ; and they continue to 


bear the fearful mark of God's reprobation. The Jews 
consider their sin in the matter of Aaron's golden calf, 
so exceeding sinful, that in all the judgments and afflic- 
tions which they hare since borne as a people, there are 
some grains, say they, of that golden calf; so from the 
day that Jesus and his gospel were rejected by them at 
Pisidia, some particles of the dust of their reprobation, 
shaken off from the feet of the apostles, cleaves still to 
their persons. They having constructively judged them- 
selves unworthy of everlasting life, they are now judi- 
cially destitute of that which they have despised, and 
continue to reject and blaspheme. But thou, O Lord, how 
long ! See pp. 465, 466. 

As the gospel of Christ is a complete system of doc- 
trine or teaching, the whole of it must be proclaimed 
to the people, that they may fully learn all that concerns 
their safety in time and eternity ; and to declare all these 
things belongs to the preceptive part of the gospel : and 
thus St. Peter : " The word which God sent unto the 
children of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ, he 
is Lord of all. And we are witnesses of all things which 
he did both in the land of the Jews and in Jerusalem. 
And he commanded us to preach unto the people, and 
to testify that it is he which was ordained of God to be 
the Judge of quick and dead. To him gave all the pro- 
phets witness, that through his name, whosoever be- 
lieveth in him shall receive remission of sins," Acts x. 
36, 39, 42, 43. St. Paul bears a similar testimony, "And 
the times of this ignorance (the state in which the Gen- 
tile world lay) God winked at, but now commandeth all 
men everywhere to repent ; because he hath appointed 
a day in which he will judge the world in righteousness 
by that man which he hath ordained," Acts xvii. 30, 31. 
" Neither is there salvation in any other : for there is 
none other name under heaven given among men where- 


by we must be saved," Acts iv. 12. "For though I 
preach the gospel, I have nothing to glory of; for ne- 
cessity is laid upon me ; yea, woe is unto me if I preach 
not the gospel." 1 Cor. ix. 14. The final, and the most 
authoritative precept is that which our blessed Lord has 
put in the mouths of all who profess his religion, and 
believe on his name : every child knows this precept, 
and every adult should offer it as a daily petition, with 
the most pious fervour, unto his God : " Our Father who 
art in heaven ; Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom 
come ! Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven." 

Thus we have the most positive evidence that the 
apostles were commanded of God to proclaim the gospel 
everywhere : to testify to Jews and Greeks repentance 
towards God, and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ. It is 
not a matter of indifference whether the gospel be 
preached or not : it must be preached in order that men 
may be saved ; for as there is no other name by which 
men can be saved, so there is no other doctrine, no other 
form of religion but the gospel of Jesus, which God will 
bless to the salvation of men. And as every man should 
love his neighbour as himself, so he should do everything 
in his power to send this gospel to every part of the 
habitable world. If we pray to God that his kingdom 
may come, we should endeavour to promote its coming. 
"We cannot expect that heathens will come to us for that 
gospel of which they know nothing ; we must take it to 
them, we must offer it to them, show them its excellence 
and importance. We must frank that gospel on its pas- 
sage ; give it to them without money and without price ; 
and that the heathen may get the bread of life, we must, 
if necessary, abridge ourselves of a measure of the bread 
that perisheth. We cannot be guiltless, if we do not, 
as far as we reasonably can, send the gospel to the mul- 
titudes that are perishing for lack of knowledge. That 
these prophecies and precepts were properly understood 

458 THE high commission; 

by the apostles and primitive Christians, there can be 
no ddubt ; and that the evidence that they were so, is 
abundant, not only in the sacred records, but also in the 
annals of the primitive church, I shall show by collating, 
thirdly, the testimonies. 

III. Testimonies. 

1. In reference to the history of our Lord, and the 
grand facts of his passion and death, the perfidy of 
Judas, his tragical end, and the necessity of having the 
number of the apostolate filled up, and the choice that 
fell on Matthias ; the discourse of Peter, in the company 
of the one hundred and twenty disciples, is a very im- 
portant testimony. See the discourse on Acts i. 15 — 26. 

2. Afterwards, the wonderful effusion of the Holy 
Spirit on the day of Pentecost, when the gift of various 
tongues was given to the disciples, by which they were 
so wonderfully qualified to preach the gospel to the dif- 
ferent nations of the earth, was a direct fulfilment of 
our Lord's promise, Acts i. 4 ; and a strong proof that 
the whole system was divine, and all begun and carried 
on by a divine agency. 

3. The multitude of strangers from various nations 
that were present at that time, and heard the disciples 
speaking various kinds of tongues, which, as they were 
uneducated men, it was evident they had not learned ; 
and the miracle was still the greater when each of these 
strangers heard Galileans speak, so that whatever was 
spoken they understood in their own tongue. And they 
did not understand the things that were spoken, from 
any affinity in the languages, which might have been 
argued, had there been none present but they who 
understood Hebrew, Chaldee, and Syriac, which have 
such an affinity among themselves, being cognate lan- 
guages ; for there were present, Parthians, Medes, and 
Elamites, inhabitants of Mesopotamia, Judea, Cappa- 

A DISCOURSE ON SAB. II. 14, ISAl. XI. 9. 459 

docia, Pontus, Asia, Phrygia, Pamphylia, and Egypt ; 
persons from Lybia, about Cyrene, strangers of Rome, 
Jews, and Proselytes, Cretes, and Arabians. All these 
heard the apostles speak in their respective tongues, 
''the wonderful works of God;" Acts ii. 4 — 11. 

4. And there is some reason to doubt whether the gift 
of tongues received at this time were ever taken away 
from original disciples. Wherever they went we never 
find them at a loss to make themselves understood by 
the people of the different countries to whom they 
preached, w r hether they w r ere Greeks, Latins, Arabians, 
Parthians, Chaldeans, Medo- Persians ; persons who used 
the Phoenician tongue, as the Maltese then did ; or the 
ancient Coptic, as the Egyptians did. And it is remark- 
able that we never find any of the apostles employing 
an interpreter. If this gift of tongues were continued 
it must have been to themselves, and to all that were 
acquainted with the fact, a standing proof, not only of 
the miracles which had been wrought, but also of the 
divinity of that religion, in the behalf of which the 
miracle took place. 

5. Again, the evidence of the truth of the birth, 
preaching, miracles, passion, death by crucifixion, re- 
surrection, and ascension of Christ, was so complete 
from this miracle of the gift of tongues, that while 
Peter was pleading on the proof, the Holy Spirit bore his 
testimony to the reasoning, many were cut to the heart, 
and in the same day three thousand thorough converts 
were added to the church. 

6. And notwithstanding the opposition that was made 
to the preaching of Christ crucified, and the persecution 
that was raised against the apostles, and even against the 
private members of the church, yet converts were made 
daily ; and converts were not such in creed or opinion 
merely, for who would expose themselves to loss of pro- 

3 u 


pertj, to persecution, and death, on account of an opinion 
or point of religious belief; but as they were cut to the 
heart (xaTtwyriaav, "deeply pricked in heart,") under 
the preaching," ver. 37, so they were converted in heart ; 
hence they are termed here tovq otaooptvovQ, " the saved," 
persons now saved from the love, power, and guilt of 
sin ; not those that should be saved, as one thriftlessly 
renders it, as if the salvation alone had reference to 
their final state, and not to their being now qualified to 
become members of the visible church, and mystical 
body of Christ. These daily conversions, in such cir- 
cumstances, were daily testimonies of the truth of 

7. Not only the multitude of converts, but also the 
unanimity and harmony of the whole, being one in sen- 
timent, and one in feeling, was a strong testimony to the 
truth of the doctrines they had received ; for it is par- 
ticularly noted, that " the multitude of them that be- 
lieved were of one heart, and one soul, neither said any 
one of them that aught of the things which he possessed 
was his own ; but they had all things common ;" Acts 
iv. 32. 

8. Notwithstanding the dangers to which they were 
exposed, they boldly professed their faith in Christ cru- 
cified, and peremptorily refused to obey the Jewish 
rulers when they commanded them to preach no more in 
the name of Christ ; on which occasion Peter and John 
answered, and said unto them, " Whether it be right in 
the sight of God, to hearken unto you more than unto 
God, judge ye; for we cannot but speak the things 
which we have seen and heard ;" Acts iv. 19, 20. It is 
true that they were insulted, and awfully threatened, 
but they took all these threatenings and laid them before 
the Lord, implored his protection, and prayed for courage: 
" And now, Lord, behold their threatenings, and grant 


unto thy servants, that with all boldness they may speak 
thy word ; by stretching forth thine hand to heal, and 
that signs and wonders may be done by the name of thy 
holy child, Jesus ;" Acts iv. 29, 30. And their applica- 
tion to the strong for strength was not in vain, for, 
" when they had prayed, the place was shaken where 
they were assembled together, and they were all filled 
with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God 
with all boldness ;" ver. 31. When, after this, they were 
taken up, and thrown into the common prison, grievously 
scourged and threatened with death, they were not in 
the least intimidated ; for when the high-priest and the 
council interrogated them, saying, " Did we not straightly 
command you that you should not teach in this name ? 
and behold ye have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine, 
and intend to bring this man's blood upon us ;" Peter, 
and the other apostles, made their usual apology for their 
conduct, "We ought to obey God rather than men;" 
and instantly, in the very jaws of death, they brought 
home the charge of the murder of Christ against them, 
"The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom ye 
slew and hanged on a tree ; him hath God exalted with 
his right hand, a Prince and a Saviour, to give repent- 
ance to Israel, and remission of sins. And we are his 
witnesses of these things ; and so is also the Holy Ghost, 
whom God hath given to them that obey him ;" Acts v. 
28 — 32. Though, on this occasion, they were dismissed, 
but not without the usual charge, " to preach no more," 
and threatened with death if they did, and beaten because 
they had already disobeyed those bad men, yet they 
triumphed in their disgrace and in their stripes, " and 
departed from the council rejoicing that they were counted 
worthy to suffer shame for his name ; and daily, in the 
temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and 
preach Jesus Christ;" Acts v. 23—44. No persecu- 
tions terrified them, nor prevented others from joining 


them ^ so " that multitudes, both of men and women, 
believed, and were added to the Lord ;" ver. 14. And 
in all those troublous times, " the word of God in- 
creased, and the number of the disciples multiplied in 
Jerusalem greatly ; and a great company of the priests 
were obedient to the faith ;" Acts vi. 7- This last fact 
is an overwhelming testimony of the power of the preach- 
ing of Christ crucified, and of the influence by which 
God accompanied that doctrine to the souls of men ; a 
great company of the priests were obedient to the faith ! 
The evidence must have been bright indeed to have 
overcome their prejudices, to have softened their hearts, 
and to have caused them, by embracing the doctrine of 
Christ crucified, to pronounce their own condemnation ! 
8. With such men as preachers, with such an Agent as 
the Holy Spirit to accompany the truths they declared to 
the hearts of the people, — with such opening and pre- 
disposing energies as those employed by the divine pro- 
vidence, — no wonder the word of the Lord had free 
course, ran, and was glorified, and that the little leaven 
appeared to diffuse its influence through the whole lump. 
Hence we find that Samaria received the word of the 
gospel by the ministry of Philip ; Acts viii. 4 — 8. And 
many villages of the Samaritans received the truth, under 
the preaching of Peter and John; Acts viii. 25. A 
eunuch, of Candace, queen of the Ethiopians, was bap- 
tized into the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ by Philip, 
and was in a short time well instructed in divine things ; 
and is supposed to have, on his return, proclaimed the 
gospel to his countrymen ; see Acts viii. 26 — 39. And 
this same Philip travelled from Azotus, or Ashdod, to 
Ceesarea, preaching Jesus in all the cities through which 
he passed ; ver. 40. 

9. Saul, a violent persecutor, afterwards called Paul, 

was miraculously converted ; see Acts ix. 3 19 xxii. 

6, &c, xxvi. 12 ; and being fully convinced of the truth 


of the gospel, preached Jesus at Damascus, and in vari- 
ous synagogues of the Jews, and became the chief means 
of spreading the knowledge of Christ crucified, through 
several parts of Palestine, Syria, Asia Minor, Greece, 
Italy, &c. His history and conversion are h in them- 
selves such a testimony and proof of the truth of the 
gospel, as cannot be overthrown by either the reason, 
sophistry, or cunning of man. Under the preaching of 
Peter at Caesarea, a centurion, with his family and neigh- 
bours, were converted ; and the Holy Spirit was poured 
out on both Jews and heathens, so "that they spake 
with divers tongues, magnifying the Lord ;" Acts x. 

10. The persecution still raging, by which Stephen 
was martyred, many of the disciples were scattered 
abroad, and travelled as far as Phenice, Cyprus, and 
Antioch, proclaiming the gospel, but chiefly to the Jews ; 
and the hand of the Lord being with them, " a great 
number believed, and turned unto the Lord ;" Acts xi, 
19 — 21. The Church at Jerusalem, hearing of this, sent 
Barnabas to Antioch to visit them, who preached so suc- 
cessfully that much people was added unto the Lord, 
ver. 22 — 24; and, during a whole year, Barnabas and 
•Saul ministered in this city, and taught much people. 
So popular did the gospel become in Antioch, that the 
believers in it then received the denomination of Chris 
Hans, which became universal, and prevails to the pre- 
sent day ; Acts xi. 25, 26. The followers of Christ re- 
ceived this very expressive title about A.D. 43. They 
were called Christians, because they belonged to Christ, 
spoke about Christ, recommended Christ, had the spirit 
of Christ, and lived according to the precepts of Christ. 

11. After the persecution raised by Herod, and his 
tragical death, the word of the Lord had free course, and 
was glorified. See Acts xii. 1 — 24; see also Acts xiii. 
43, 44, 48, 49. A great multitude of Jews and Gentiles 


were converted at Iconium, under the preaching of Paul 
and Barnabas. See Acts xiv. 1, 3 — 27, xv. 12, &c. 
But the Christian doctrine spread rapidly through Derbe, 
Lystra, Phrygia, Galatia, Troas, Macedonia, Philippi, &c; 
Acts xvi. 1, &c. Also in Amphipolis, Apollonia, Thes- 
salonica, Berea, and Athens, by the ministry of St. Paul ; 
Acts xvii. 1 — 4, 10, 12, 34. And at Corinth, where 
many were converted, Acts xviii. 1 — 10, 11; and also 
in Syria, and Ephesus, Antioch, Galatia, and Phrygia, 
through which places the apostle travelled in order to 
strengthen the churches; ver. 18, 23. See also chap, 
xix. 1,10, &c, in which it is stated, that Paul continued 
so effectually to preach Christ at Ephesus, and the ad- 
joining parts, for two years, that " all they who dwelt in 
Asia heard the word of the Lord Jesus, both Jews and 
Greeks ;" so mightily grew the word of God and pre- 
vailed, ver. 20, &c. 

According to Demetrius, the craftsman, "almost 
through all Asia, Paul had persuaded and turned away 
much people, saying (as well he might) that they be no 
gods which are made with hands," ver. 25. See also 
Acts xxi. 17^ — 19. But who thinks that gold and silver 
coined into what is called money, or manufactured and 
stamped in the various forms in which plate appears in 
the mansions of the great, are not gods, though made 
with hands? There is not one in 100,000, who has 
these, that does not think them to be gods; and does 
not treat them as gods, by building all his hopes on 
them, and seeking all his happiness from them ! The 
different forms of wealth, and the different fashions of 
plate, are the same in the present time as the Venus de 
Medicis, the Apollo de Belvidere, the Hercules Farnese, 
the Minervas, Mercuries, Cupids, Hebes, Junos, and all 
others, down to Pluto and Proserpine, of the most emi- 
nent sculptors of antiquity, were among our elder bro- 
thers, heathens in Greece, Rome, and Asia. Yea, we 


preserve their images, build them temples, have shrines 
to their honour in lawns and shrubberies, and sacrifice 
much to their accommodation, though we offer not 
bloody sacrifices to appease their wrath, or propitiate 
their favour. 

Hear this, O Europe, thou land of metallic idolatry ! 

That the Jews did so completely reject the gospel, 
and followed up their rejection of it and its author, whom 
they had lately crucified, with a systematic persecution 
of his disciples and their converts, is sufficiently evident 
from the preceding extracts ; and that in consequence of 
this, God, though he for a time left them their candle- 
stick, yet he took away their light, as he had declared 
before by his prophets. We learn this from the follow- 
ing testimonies, one of which (Acts xiii. 46) has already 
been referred to, with some appropriate reflections ; and 
the prophecy introduced on which it was founded ; see 
p. 455. The others, which are to the same effect, are 
these : Paul's testimony against the Jews at Corinth : 
" And when Silas and Timotheus were come from Ma - 
cedonia, Paul was pressed in spirit, and testified to the 
Jews, that Jesus is the Christ. And when they opposed 
themselves, and blasphemed, he shook his raiment, and 
said unto them, Your blood be upon your own heads, I 
am clean : from henceforth I will go unto the Gentiles," 
Acts xviii. 5, 6. This Avas a second declaration of the 
rejection of the Jews, because they had fully and finally 
rejected Christ and his gospel. The former was at An- 
tioch in Pisidia, Acts xiii. 46, 47, about A. D. 45, and 
this declaration was made by Paul and Barnabas con- 
jointly. This second was made at Corinth by Paul him- 
self, Silas and Timotheus being present, about A. D. 54. 
There is a third, which was made at Rome, A. D. 63, 
by Paul himself, being then a prisoner, and is connected 
with several very awful circumstances, which are related 


Acts xxviii. 23 — 28. Paul being just arrived a prisoner 
at Rome, having appealed from the persecuting Jews at 
Jerusalem to Caesar, had some conferences with the chief 
Jews resident there, who desired to have full information 
from him concerning Christianity. They appointed him 
a day, in which they promised to attend him in his 
prison-house ; and came according to appointment ; and 
to them "he expounded and testified the kingdom ot 
God, persuading them concerning Jesus, both out of the 
law of Moses, and out of the Prophets, from morning 
till evening; and some believed the things that were 
spoken, and some believed not. And when they agreed 
not among themselves, they departed, after Paul had 
spoken one word. 

"Well spake the Holy Ghost by Isaiah the prophet to 
our fathers, saying, Go unto this people, and say, Hearing 
ye shall hear, and shall not understand ; and seeing ye 
shall see, and not perceive : for the heart of this people 
is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and 
their eyes have they closed ; lest they should see with 
their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with 
their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal 
them. Be it known, therefore, unto you, that the sal- 
vation of God is sent unto the Gentiles, and they will 
hear it," Acts xxviii. 23 — 28. 

As these judicial declarations of the final rejection of 
the Jews, and the election of the Gentiles in their stead, 
are of great importance in reference to the state of the 
Jews from the apostolic times to the present, and to the 
Gentile world in reference to their present condition, and 
the state of salvation to which they are called, I shall 
lay them down in the order of their occurrence : — 

1st Declaration, made at Antioch, in Pisidia, by 
Paul and Barnabas conjointly, A. D. 45 ; recorded Acts 
xiii. 46—48. 


2nd Declaration, made at Corinth by Paul him- 
self; Silas and Timothy being present, A. D. 54; re- 
corded Acts xviii. 5, 6. 

3rd Declaration, made at Rome by Paul, while 
there a prisoner, about A. D. 63 ; recorded Acts xxviii. 

On these we may remark, 1st. That the Jews were 
not rejected till they had obstinately and finally rejected 
the Lord that bought them. 2nd. That they continue 
as a people in the same spirit to the present day, con- 
tradicting and blaspheming. " Lo, then, we also turn 
unto the Gentiles, and they will hear us." 

In the great work of evangelizing the world, the true 
apostles of the Lord Jesus Christ, while the Jews require 
a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom, proceed with 
the declaration, " We preach Christ crucified, unto the 
Jews a stumbling-block, and unto the Greeks foolish- 
ness; but unto them that are called, both Jews and 
Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of 
God," 1 Cor. i. 22—24. 

"Testifying both to Jews and Gentiles repentance 
towards God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ," 
Acts xx. 21. 

" Their line is gone out through all the earth, and 
their words to the end of the world," Ps. xix. 4 ; Rom. 
x. 18. No bounds are set to the extension and success 
of the messengers of peace. " Now to Him that is of 
power to establish you according to my gospel, and the 
preaching of Jesus Christ ; according to the revelation of 
the mystery which was kept secret since the world began, 
but now is made manifest, and by the Scriptures of the 
prophets, according to the commandment of the ever- 
lasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience 
of faith, to God only wise be glory through Christ Jesus, 
for ever. Amen." Rom. xvi. 25 — 27- 

468 THE high commission; 

tetfefiid of the 


"Go ye, therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing 
them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of 
the Holy Ghost, teaching them to observe all things F 

whatsoever I have commanded you; and lo, I am with ni behind. Un 

you alway, even unto the end of the world," Matt, xxviii. .« ancient 1 

19, 20. awette 

"And they went forth, and preached everywhere, the At stood l 

Lord working with them, and confirming the word with ah they m 

signs following," Mark xvi. 20. Thus we find prophecy *» Tery ana 

has proclaimed this event, precept has enjoined it, and J that place 

testimony has proved it. Sof power ai 

After this, it is truly astonishing how rapidly the irthe messengt 

messengers of the gospel overran most parts of the Roman M, Even in 

empire, converting multitudes of thousands of Gentiles, nUefastne 

and establishing churches in all regions and countries ; the tsb their n 

Gentiles everywhere coming to that divine light that It that rod of h 

had proceeded from Judaea, and kings to the brightness 
rising. Wherever they went, the call of the Gen- 
ras proved to be the call of God. 
i rapid progress of the gospel has been distinctly Wffiperitv of his 

noted by the earliest Christian writers; and even they «to«ivenun 

who lived nearest to the facts of the gospel history, and j,, ^ c * 

themselves witnessed much of the mighty workings of | Te » 

the Divine Spirit, have spoken of this progress with ex- 
ultation and astonishment. Both the apostles and their 
immediate successors carried the gospel everywhere: Itttiouft}, 

they set no bounds to their desires, no limits to their | . 

labours, but the great circles that encompass the globe. J 

To the apostles there was but one bishopric, and to 
their fellow-labourers, one parish — that was the terra- WBitsi 

queous globe ; and it. could be none otherwise, as he Avho 
made and who sustains the heavens, the earth, the sea, 
and all things, had said to them, " Go ye into all the 
world, and preach the gospel to every creature." Re- 
ceiving this commission from their God, soon their line iTrtT*'™ 
went out through all the earth, and their word (doctrine) ' 


•in another 

'• Nothing 




to the end of the world. The barbarous, as well as the 
civilized parts of the earth, were equally objects of their 
godly zeal. They speedily left the limits of the Roman 
world behind them ; and the first voyages of discovery 
in those ancient times, which had in view the benefit of 
man, were those of apostles and their successors, to find 
souls that stood in need of salvation, and to furnish the 
salvation they needed : — and it is particularly remarked 
by a very ancient writer (Tertullian Advers. Judeas, 
c. 7)? that places that were inaccessible to the Roman 
lust of power and conquest, were penetrated everywhere 
by the messengers of the gospel, preaching Christ cruci- 
fied. Even in Britain, the most secret recesses and in- 
accessible fastnesses, where the Roman legions dared not 
to show their helmets and their swords, were subdued 
by that rod of his strength that Jesus sent out of Zion • 
and in them the Prince of peace governed in the splen- 
dour of his holiness : his subjects were his children, his 
children were all taught by him, and of the peace and 
prosperity of his kingdom there is no end. It would be 
easy to give numerous testimonies of those facts from a 
long list of the most respectable vouchers, for the first 
400 years after the ascension of our Lord ; but this is 
the less necessary here, as I have already produced seve- 
ral in another work, " A short Account of the Intro- 
duction of the Gospel into the British Isles," to which 
the reader may refer. 


1. Nothing is more evident, than that man is natu- 
rally, in all his generations, and in all the places of his 
sojournings, in a state of moral darkness, degradation, 
and wretchedness. No matter what his complexion may 
be the air that he breathes, the soil that nourishes him, 
or the length or shortness of his day, or the cold or heat 


of his climate. Whatever discrepancies there may be 
in the above, one thing is common to the whole human 
family ; all are gone out of the way ; all are fallen, and 
become abominable ; all have sinned and come short of 
the glory of God ; all are wretched, and are perishing for 
lack of knowledge. 

2. That the Father of the spirits of all flesh has 
purposed to redeem man, through the incarnation and 
sacrificial death of his Son, and to send forth his light 
and his truth to lead men and guide them to his holy 
hill and dwelling-place. 

3. That the gospel of his grace, the good news of sal- 
vation to a fallen, lost world, is that teaching which 
alone can make men wise unto salvation, as it alone can 
show men the way by which they can be saved ; i. e., 
have their sins forgiven and their souls purified from all 
sin, and fitted for a state of glory. 

4. That as Christ, by God's grace, has tasted death for 
every man, so God has willed that the gospel of his 
kingdom shall be preached in all the earth ; that all its 
inhabitants may hear how that God, having so loved the 
world, gave his only-begotten Son, to the end that they 
who believe in him may not perish, but have everlasting 

!-.. 5. That God well knows that to enlighten the dark- 
ness and soften the hardness of the human heart, the 
energy of the Holy Spirit should accompany the preach- 
ing of the gospel ; for this only can make it effectual to 
the salvation of them that hear it. 

6. That the disciples and apostles, when sent to the 
Gentiles, were sent not only by the authority of the 
divine Spirit, but by the unction of that Spirit ; so that 
while they had authority to declare the gospel, a power 
from the same authority diffused its energy through the 
souls of their hearers, by which their darkness was chased 
away, their guilt was blotted out, and their souls puri- 


fled, sin having no more dominion over them ; and they 
showed the truth of their conversion, and the divinity of 
their religion, by living holy lives to the glory of God 
and the benefit of man. 

7- That it was ever judged to be essential to the suc- 
cess of an apostle or missionary, to be influenced and 
qualified by the Holy Ghost, without which it would be 
impossible that he should be successful; and without 
this there is no evidence that any who did go on this 
missionary work, ever brought Gentiles or Jews from 
Satan to God. 

8. That the same influences or graces of the Holy 
Spirit are as necessary in our days as in theirs ; that it 
would be absurd for us to expect to do the same work 
without the Holy Ghost, which the apostles themselves 
could not do without it. 

9. That the rapidity with which the nations of the 
world were evangelized, was owing to this mighty in 
strumentality ; for " it is not by might, nor by power, but 
by my Spirit, saith the Lord of Hosts." 

10. That the word of the Lord has not that free course 
among the nations as it formerly had, because the unction 
of his Spirit is not carried into the work as it formerly 
was ; hence in many cases we have but few, and those 
superficial, conversions. 

11. That all the ministers and directors of missionary 
bodies or institutions should be very careful who they 
send into this work ; for it is not every good man, every 
sensible man, and every pious man, that is fit to be a 
missionary. A man, to be a successful missionary, must 
have peculiar natural and supernatural abilities. A man 
who does not feel, that he carries on his heart an almost 
oppressive load of concern for a lost world will not, can- 
not go forth with that zeal, self-denial, and laborious 
exertion, requisite to save souls. And even this man, 
who is all fervour, and whose soul is wholly in his work, 

472 THE HIGH commission; ' 

will not, cannot be successful unless he have an extra- 
influence of the Holy Spirit with him in his ministry. 
The missionary needs more gifts and graces than the 
ordinary minister, and gifts and graces of a peculiar 
nature. No young converts should be employed in such 
a work, unless as assistants under the continual direc- 
tion of the well-experienced — of fathers, at least in 
knowledge ; not old men, for they are incapable of bear- 
ing its fatigues ; but persons deeply experienced in divine 
things, hale in their constitution, and in the height of 
their muscular activity. It was once the custom to send 
persons of mean abilities, who were sincerely religious, 
to instruct the negroes in the West Indies ; they went, did 
the best they could, taught those sons of Ham a little 
common-place piety in prayer and religious duties, but 
in religious knowledge they found them negroes and left 
them such. 

12. Let missionaries often interchange. Some men 
may have a good talent in civilizing heathens and savages, 
but it is evangelization they want ; this first, civilization 
will come after. The savage or uncultivated mind de- 
lights in novelty, novelty excites curiosity, and curiosity 
is a spur to reflection; this, rightly directed, leads to 
much profiting. In the preceding discourse, we have 
seen the prophecies that declare the divine purpose in 
reference to the salvation of the world. The precepts 
that enjoin it, and the testimonies that confirm it, and 
all these three points expanded and illustrated by various 
Scriptures and remarks on them ; but there is something- 
still more particular to be attended to, in reference' to 
those principles that lie at the foundation of the work, 
to the persons who may be expected to be principally 
assisting in the work, and the mode in which those prin- 
ciples and operations are to be employed in order to do 
the greatest possible good. 



All missionary societies and all the missionary exer- 
tions of individuals, profess to be founded on the fol- 
lowing positive injunctions of the Most High : " Thou 
shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, soul, 
mind, and strength." This is the first principle or com- 
mand ; and the second is like to it. " Thou shalt love 
thy neighbour as thyself." On these two command- 
ments hang all the law and the prophets. 

1. As God is the fountain of power and goodness, so 
he is the author of every good and perfect gift. All the 
good that is found in angels or men, and the power to 
use it, come from him. Hence our first duty is , to 
love him with all our hearts, and to serve him with all 
our powers. And as he loves all men — for he hateth 
nothing that he hath made — and would have the whole 
human race to consider themselves as one family, and to 
regard him as the Father of the spirits of all flesh, so 
he makes it our duty, and indeed our interest, to love 
one another, and to love so as to promote each other's 

2. That this love may be successfully operative, God 
has been pleased to give another precept completely 
directive, relative to the duties arising from the above 
commandments, especially the second, in these words, 
which among Christians have long been denominated 
our Lord's golden rule : " Whatsoever ye would that 
men should do unto you, even so do ye unto them ;" and 
of this he says, as of the former, " This is the law and 
the prophets ;" giving us to understand, by a similar 
conclusion relative to both, that they contain the spirit 
and substance of all the enactments of the divine law, 
and of the teachings or doctrines on every moral sub- 
ject proclaimed by the prophets. 

3. From the whole we must conclude here as we have 

474 THE HIGH commission; 

assumed In the commencement of this discourse, that 
God \n\h the happiness of man ; and that it is his de- 
sign to help man hy man ; that is, to make every human 
being a contributor to his neighbour's welfare. Such 
exertions should always be proportioned to the wants or 
distress of the neighbour ; and to the means or ability 
which God has placed in our power for his relief and 

4. From the love of God shed abroad in the heart, 
arise these two principles, benevolence and beneficence ; 
the first implying an intense feeling of good- will towards 
our fellow-creatures ; the second, the acts that arise from 
that good- will, and by which the existence of the former 
is manifested ; the whole implying what is called charity, 
in spirit or principle, in word and in deed. 


1. Every man in his individual state, is feeble, igno- 
rant, helpless, and dependent. It is only in his collec- 
tive or social state that he can be considered strong, 
wise, and capable of showing the most intense benevo- 
lence, by the most extensive beneficence ; hence philan- 
thropic purposes are the incentives to the formation of 
all those societies, which have for their objects the glory 
of God and the happiness of man. 

2. Among the vast numbers of the necessitous, there 
are some more necessitous than others; as among the 
untaught, there are some more ignorant than others. 
The highest necessities in the civil state of man, are 
those which affect life ;■ in cases where things requisite 
for the preservation of life cannot be acquired, and the 
highest or most imperious wants, in reference to his 
moral state, are those which affect the soul, especially in 
those cases where it may be truly said, The people are 
destroyed for lack of knowledge. 

3. Benevolent institutions in very active operation, 


appear, in most nations, in behalf of the poor, who are 
destitute of bread ; and such institutions are more nume- 
rous in our country, than in any other under the sun ; 
and the most necessitous objects are sought for, in order 
that they may become the most prominent objects of 
charitable relief: while the heart of every man is open, 
and his hand ready to afford relief in such cases, it would 
be strange indeed, if the state of some hundreds of mil- 
lions of men, sitting in pagan darkness, without a ray of 
the light of the gospel of Jesus, did not meet the eye 
and affect the hearts of those who are partakers of the 
blessings of Christianity ! 

4. The tale of the wretched state of the heathen has 
been loudly and diffusively told, by persons the most ac- 
credited, who have been eye and ear witnesses of their 
wretchedness: the public mind has been affected, and 
spiritual adventurers, full of zeal for God's glory, and the 
salvation of men, — persons, who, in the first ages of the 
church, would have been called apostles, have gone out 
into the various nations that form the four great divisions 
of the habitable globe ; have searched the various cham- 
bers of the universal house of imagery, in which the gods 
many and .the lords many are worshipped, to the utter 
disappointment and final ruin of their miserable votaries ; 
and these men have returned with the additionally dis- 
tressing tale : " We have heard much of the lost state of 
the heathen world ; of its darkness, its superstitions, its 
inhumanity, degradation and brutality, but the half was 
not told us. We have seen the empire of death and sin, 
unchecked, undisturbed, when millions are led captive 
by the devil at his will. Arm! arm in the cause of 
Christ ! Invade the territories of the destroyer ! Push 
the battle to the gate, and beat up all the enemy's quar- 
ters !" Thus have they spoken ; and to this summons, a 
loud and lengthened responsive cry has been uttered by 
VOL. III. x 


thousands, " Here are we, send us !" Employ us in any 
way in "which we can be useful ; our hearts, our hands 
are with you : and our most fervent prayers shall supply 
the unavoidable lack'of other service, where our hands 
cannot work, and where our feet can travel no farther. 

5. As in many cases of necessity, there are some more 
necessitous than others ; so, in the case of those who are 
called to assist in this work, there are some who, from 
their superior affluence, or peculiarly favouring circum- 
stances, are capable of helping more than others. And 
as this is unquestionably the case with individuals, so it 
may be with respect to countries, cities, or towns. 

The British Empire, generally called Great Britain 
and Ireland, and sometimes both are merged in the name 
of one kingdom, England; this kingdom is well calcu- 
lated to do mighty things on the broad scale' of bene- 
volence, or public charity. It can do great things, 
because it is wealthy ; it will do, and does great things, 
because it is liberal. Ireland is not wealthy, but it is 
kind-hearted, and liberal, to the best of its power ; and 
in an eminent manner, partakes of that most honour- 
able Christian disposition, — 

" The generous mind that's not confined at home, 
But spreads itself abroad through all the public j 
And feels for every member of the land." 

6. By this United Empire, more acts of pure gene- 
rosity, charity, and mercy are done, than by all the 
other nations in Europe. However, we may truly say, 
that England, or collectively the British Isles, from 
their local or geographical situation, seem to be desig- 
nated by Divine Providence, as the chief and most emi- 
nent, and best circumstanced, to send the word of life, 
and the messengers of peace to all the nations of the 

It has been often asked where is the central spot on 
the surface of the globe ? Physically or geographically 


speaking, this question might he answered by a child : 
for as a globe is a perfectly round body, so any spot on 
its surface is equally distant from its point : and a line 
drawn from one of these points to the other, must ne- 
cessarily pass through the centre of the earth ; and sup- 
pose the earth to be cut in the direction of that line, 
it would be divided into two equal hemispheres, or half 
globes. But as the terraqueous globe is generally di- 
vided in the direction of what are called its poles, the 
point that is equally distant from the north and south 
poles marks the centre of the earth ; no matter on what 
line it is measured all round the equator, provided it 
begins at one pole and ends in the opposite. But sup- 
pose the starting point be on some one of the poles, 
whether the north or the south ; and the distance be- 
tween the two poles be equally divided; imagine a 
sweep with the compasses extended from the pole to the 
equator; this would divide the earth into two equal 
hemispheres as before : but they would be called north 
and south ; one hemisphere having the north pole for 
its centre, the other the south. 

7. But as we know the terrestrial globe to consist of 
earth and water (the latter superabounding), the ques- 
tion probably is understood to mean, What is the centre of 
the earthly parts ? For some geographers have reckoned 
that the water is to the earth as seventeen are to three. 
But as the earthy parts do not lie contiguous to each 
other, their centre cannot with any convenience be taken. 
But suppose we wish to know from what point on its 
surface a projection of the globe can be made, in one of 
whose hemispheres the greatest possible portion of land 
shall be included ; and what then is that centre, which 
is thus circumstanced ? I answer, there is but one place 
of importance on the surface of the earth, where such a 
centre is found. This is the city of London. To ex- 

x 2 


emplify this, let a projection of the sphere be made on 
the plafte of the horizon of the British capital. This 
will divide the globe into two hemispheres, the north- 
ern and the southern : let us examine their contents. 

1. — The Northern Hemisphere. 

This hemisphere, which has London for its centre, 
contains the greatest portion of land that can be included 
in any hemisphere, on whatever projection the experi- 
ment may be made ; and it contains also the great bulk 
of all the inhabitants of the earth. It contains all Asia, 
all Africa, the whole of Europe, the whole of North 
America, and all South America, except Cape Horn, and 
a few places to be mentioned below. On the eastern 
side of the great meridian line, towards the northern ex- 
tremity, we find Kamtschatka, the whole of Siberia, and 
the East Cape in Asia, meeting Cape Prince of Wales 
in North America, only separated from it by Bhering's 
Straits ; both lying on the Tropic of Cancer, including 
the North Cape and Baffin's Bay, embosoming the Arctic 
Pole itself, with all the polar regions. 

In this hemisphere all the mighty empires of the 
earth are situated. The Chinese, the Russian, the Mogul; 
all that is called the Constantinopolitan ; all that was 
the ancient Greek, Roman, Persian, Babylonian, and 
Assyrian empires : and what are now the Russian, 
German, French, Spanish, Ottoman, and British em- 
pires, with the kingdoms dependent on or included in 
them, together with all the numerous islands of the sea. 
Let us now turn to, 

2. — The Southern Hemisphere. 

Here we meet first with that small portion of South 
America, -which extends beyond the other hemisphere, 
and consequently could not be included in it; which 
barely includes Chili and Peru, with only three or four 
places, Lima, Rio de la Plata, Monte Video, Buenos 


Ayres, and the province of Patagonia, terminated by 
Cape Horn. The whole of this district is hut very 
thinly inhabited by various tribes of savage Indians, and 
superstitious ungodly Spaniards. 

The only mass of land of any quantity is New Hol- 
land, with the large islands of Borneo, Sumatra, Java, 
New Guinea, New Zealand (our antipodes), and besides 
these, little else than a vast aquatic surface, where the 
Philippine, the Ladrones, the Sandwich, the Friendly 
and Society's Isles, are variously studded over the Indian, 
and North and South Pacific Oceans ; and of all of 
these, we may truly say, from the aspect of the map : — 

Apparent rari nantes in gurgite vasto. 
" Thinly dispersed o'er all the vasty deep." 

Now, all the portions on this hemisphere would not 
make the one-hundredth part of the inhabited surface of 
the Northern Hemisphere, nor the one-thousandth part 
of the number of its inhabitants. 

London is the centre of all these empires, kingdoms, 
and islands : she pushes her traffic, and extends her 
commercial relations through the whole. As the heart, 
in the human microcosm, sends the life blood, by means 
of the arteries, a vivifying stream to every part of the 
body, supplying its wants, reparing its wastes, variously 
enriching, increasing, consolidating and perfecting the 
whole ; so London is the centre of this hemisphere : — 
her arts, her science, and her manufactures are every- 
where dispensed, everywhere prized, and become every- 
where beneficial to herself and to others. While she 
enriches, she is enriched. All nations have their super- 
fluities and their deficiencies ; but the deficiencies of one 
are supplied by the superfluities of another, and eke 
versa : but while she rationally looks for a fair compen- 
sation for her merchandise, she sends her chiefest trea- 



sures to them all, "without money, and without price ;'' 
the ineffable blessings of the gospel of our Lord Jesus 
Christ. The great arteries by which the stream of life 
is communicated, not only to those places already speci- 
fied, but to the remotest hounds of the terraqueous 
globe, are, The British and Foreign Bible Society — The 
Society for Promoting Christianity in Foreign Parts — 
The Moravian Missionary Society — The Methodists' 
Missionary Society, and the missionary societies insti- 
tuted by the Baptists, the City of London, and by vari- 
ous members and ministers of the Established Church. 

1. London is the starting point — the seat of wealth 
and influence. In no other part of the world has God 
set such a tabernacle for the Sun of Righteousness : from 
this, in his plenitude of light and heat, he is going out 
to all the earth, and his words to the ends of the world ! 
He is gone forth as a bridegroom out of his chamber, 
and rejoiceth as a giant to run his race ; and throughout 
the whole of his course, he is dispensing light, power, 
and life. 

2. As it is the declared will of God that he would 
have all men to be saved, and come to the knowledge of 
the truth ; so he commands his disciples, his apostles, 
and their successors in the Christian ministry, to go into 
all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature ; 
and as it is ever his will to help man by man, and as he 
condescends to give every man the privilege of assisting 
in the work, so he calls upon all to be workers together 
with him. 

3. Every Christian nation should hear the call ; every 
potentate should, in his own dominions, be the first 
mover ; every metropolitan city should dignify itself by 
a missionary institution. But while we glory in the 
exertions of Dublin — and they have neither been few nor 
small — and respect those of the learned and industriouK 
Edinburgh, and exult in the metropolis of England, 


which in this respect is in labours more abundant, we 
alas ! look in vain to most of the other metropolitan cities 
of Europe. But to originate, dispense and maintain 
exertions of this kind, there must be the co-operation of 
three things, ability, disposition, and means. The first 
implies a sufficiency of wealth ; the second, a Christian 
feeling ; and the third, ships connected with the whole 
globe, by means of commerce. 

1. Let us look to the metropolis of France. Paris has 
ability in a certain sense ; it has the means, but it has 
no disposition to send missionaries to the ends of the 
earth to preach the everlasting gospel. 

2. Look at Vienna : it has no means, no disposition, 
and very little ability. 

3. Look at Madrid : it has means ; for its fleets and 
its commerce are in all seas ; but it has but little ability, 
and no disposition. 

. 4. Look at the metropolis of Portugal. Lisbon has 
but few means, almost no ability, and the reverse of a 
Christianizing disposition. 

5. Look at the United Provinces ; behold their splen- 
did cities,' Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Leyden, and the 
Hague. They have means; their marine is good and 
efficient, and transacts much business in many waters ; 
but they have no disposition, and " their money is spent 
for that which is not bread, and their labour for that 
which satisfieth not." 

6. Sweden and Denmark were once active and suc- 
cessful : their ability and their means were once brought 
into a blessed state of co-operation, by their truly Chris- 
tian disposition. But the scourge of war has gone through 
them, their means are crippled, their ability nearly ex- 
hausted, and their disposition prostrate and inert. 

7- If we look towards St. Petersburgh, the place of 
the throne of the emperor, or as he is self-called, the 
autocrat of all the Ilussias. What do we see ? a moral 



desert; a land Avhere intellect is sick, and genius blasted; 
"where tflie religion is scarcely ever seen ; where Chris- 
tianity is encumbered with the grossest and most de- 
grading superstition ; and where, if the Bible had not 
got a providential spread some years back, in most places 
now it would be scarcely permitted to pass the bounda- 
ries. Russia, the great storehouse of imagery, has nei- 
ther means, ability, nor disposition. Every high, god- 
like, and manlike virtue is lost in the lust of dominion, 
the exercise of savage rule, the despotism of tyrants, 
and the obedience of slaves. 

8. If we look to the above in vain, in vain then do we 
look to the different smaller states : they are miserably 
poor ; if they even have the disposition, they have nei- 
ther money nor means. They may be objects of our 
Christian cbarity ; but, except by their prayers, they 
cannot be our fellow-helpers in the gospel vineyard. 

9. But let us look back to the centre of that hemi- 
sphere of which we have been speaking — to London, the 
emporium of the universe, and the pride of the whole 
earth. Here, by the mercy and good providence of God, 
are riches beyond reckoning ; here is a disposition with- 
out limits, and here are means inexhaustible. It has 
wealth enough, under God, to maintain its place in the 
ocean, to support its various civil, literary, and religious 
institutions ; it has the disposition, the benevolent desire, 
the ever-forward zeal to use a just portion of that wealth 
for the social and eternal benefit of all mankind ; and it 
has the means, both by the multitude of apostolic men, 
who are ready to carry the gospel of their salvation to 
the utmost bounds of the sea-girt globe ; and ships that 
traverse all seas, that visit all continents and islands, and 
touch at every poit, to carry the men of God, with the 
message ot salvation — tne good news of Him, who, by 
the grace of God, tasted death for every man ; and who 
are iu their various successions, poised on the tiptoe of 


expectation and desire, prepared to step on board the 
first ship, bound for the place of their projected mis- 
sionary labours; to proclaim among the Gentiles the 
unsearchable riches of Christ ; to illuminate those who 
sit in darkness, and in the valley of the shadow of death, 
by proving to them that there is an infinite, eternal, all- 
wise, and most beneficent Being ; the Creator and Preser- 
ver of all things and all men ; who hates nothing that he 
has made ; who is loving to every man, and whose tender 
mercies are over all his works. 


1. To return, these three things, ability, disposition, 
and means are, in a certain sense and degree, in every 
man's power. He has something that he can spare, though 
it be but little, for the missionary work ; therefore he 
has ability. He wishes the happiness of the whole hu- 
man family, and cannot bear the thought of any man 
finally perishing ; therefore he has a heart in the work. 
He can devise something towards the outfit and con- 
veyance of a missionary to the field of his labour ; and 
therefore, he has some means. Now as we all have, in 
various degrees, some means of helping, and much work 
remains to be done, we should earnestly gird ourselves 
to it. 

2. What is the work ? There are many millions of 
men who have never known the true God, and never 
heard of Christ Jesus. 

Multitudes of missionaries must be yet sent forth to 
various parts of the earth. We must draw more largely 
on our ability, make a more extensive use of our means, 
and yield — far more readily yield, to the impulse of our 
gracious disposition. 

We have many calls from many cmarters, saying, 
"Come over and help us :" and we have what no church 
in the annals of ancient or modern times, ever so abun- 


dantly possessed, viz., such a numerous band of men, 
full of grace, and highly qualified for the work, saying, 
" Here are we, send us." The means of transporting 
them to the different regions of the earth, we have in our 
merchant ships that carry on our commerce with foreign 
nations : and the time is very favourable, for all the great 
maritime powers are at peace ; and there is nothing out 
of the providential way, to retard a passage, or render it 
dangerous. Besides, it is too much to expect, that such 
a state shall long remain ; war, that scourge of the Lord, 
that besom of destruction, the grand agent in the hands 
of the old murderer, may soon again be let loose. While 
we have the light, let us walk as children of the light. 
We have, then, disposition and means ; but we have not 
a sufficiency of pecuniary ability to fit our men out for 
their passage, and provide them with the necessaries of 
life, while they are going forth among the heathen, of 
whom in general they can take nothing. Everything 
must not be left to London as a city. It is true, it is 
the place where the work is planned ; the arsenal where 
the arms are prepared ; the victualling office, if I may so 
speak, where the provisions are stored up. The good 
people, the directors of the institution, give, plan, and 
labour to prepare everything for the great campaign : but 
we must all put our shoulders to the wheels, and each 
bear a rational share of the burden. As God furnishes 
the ability and means, we must take heed that the dis- 
position cool not. We must not be satisfied with a 
sudden impulse, but a continual divine energy, a holy 
fire, yielding a clear and steady light, and shining more 
and more unto the perfect day. 

3. We have already many important posts strongly 
occupied in the four quarters of the globe ; but we want 
more strength to extend and secure our conquests ; and 
we have at hand the soldiers that are going on the war- 
fare ; but they cannot go at their own charges. They 


give their labour, and they offer their lives; and what 
is our money in comparison of their labours and sacrifices? 

4. recollect, that even now, multitudes are perish- 
ing in various places for lack of knowledge. Remember 
also, the words of your Lord, " Whatsoever ye would 
that men should do unto you, do ye even so unto them." 
Do you not know that if you were destitute of the 
gospel of Christ, and those whom we are now com- 
miserating had it in the saving abundance in which you 
enjoy it, you would think it their imperious duty to send 
it to you ? Then, I repeat it, whatever ye would that 
they should do to you, even so do unto them. 

5. You have bread, and enough to spare, wdiile they 
are famishing with hunger. Where then is the disposi- 
tion to help — the yearning of your bowels over these 
poor subjects of Satan ! Pluck the brands out of the 
burning, and point the perishing to the Saviour of men ! 

6. Some may not have much ability ; but know you 
not that God requires you to act, not according to what 
you have not, but according to what you have. If you 
have but little, do your diligence to give of that little. 
In such a cause as this every man should contribute 

Before I conclude I will lay you down the following 
rules to act by : 

1. Give something of what you already have, and can 

2. If you have nothing that you can ordinarily spare, 
see whether, by a little extra labour, you may not gain 
even a mite for the Lord's Treasury ! 

3. If none of these sources is within your reach, see 
whether, by making some retrenchment, in things not 
absolutely necessary for life, you may not consecrate 
some service this day unto the Lord ? 

4. There is another source that every honest man, 
every man of character, may open in behalf of this 


work, — influence. Try your influence with others ; 
every man has this talent. Even the poorest man, if he 
be an honest, upright man, can do that by means 
of another which he cannot do by himself. Men will 
give to character, when they turn aside from institu- 
tions, and plans, and undertakings, whether public 
or private. Your master, for instance, knows your 
worth as an honest, upright servant, on whom he [can 
depend. You come to him in the behalf of the poor, 
the afflicted, the destitute ; he knows that you would 
not deceive him, that you would not recommend it 
were it not a real object of charity ; and he immediately 
gives to you, that you may give to the case you represent. 
Apply in the same way in behalf of a missionary society, 
state the prominent features of the case ; your character 
has influence with him, he hears and gives. Thus, in 
numerous cases, you may'gain by influence. Perhaps, 
there is scarcely a man in the world, allowing his moral 
character to be good, that cannot do something by influ- 
ence. Where it is utterly out of our power to help, or 
relieve, we may succeed in procuring the help, the relief, 
the prompt assistance requisite, by means of this kind. 

5. Should all our attempts to influence men fail, there 
is one with whom we can never try our influence in 
vain, that is, the [good, the merciful, the easy-to-be-en- 
treated God ! Prayer and faith have a mighty influence, 
even in the heaven of heavens. If you can give little 
or nothing in the way of money or goods, 0, pray ! pray 
to God that he will bless all missionaries, all missionary 
societies, all who assist in missionary undertakings ; and 
that he will bless them abundantly, and crown them 
with increasing and endless prosperity, till the earth be 
filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord. 


London : i. Haddon, Castle-street, Finsbury.